A one-dimensional modeling study of the diurnal cycle in the equatorial Atlantic at the PIRATA buoys during the EGEE-3 campaign
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A one-dimensional model is used to analyze, at the local scale, the response of the equatorial Atlantic Ocean under different meteorological conditions. The study was performed at the location of three moored buoys of the Pilot Research Moored Array in the Tropical Atlantic located at 10° W, 0° N; 10° W, 6° S; and 10° W, 10° S. During the EGEE-3 (Etude de la circulation océanique et de sa variabilité dans le Golfe de Guinee) campaign of May–June 2006, each buoy was visited for maintenance during 2 days. On board the ship, high-resolution atmospheric parameters were collected, as were profiles of temperature, salinity, and current. These data are used here to initialize, force, and validate a one-dimensional model in order to study the diurnal oceanic mixed-layer variability. It is shown that the diurnal variability of the sea surface temperatures is mainly driven by the solar heat flux. The diurnal response of the near-surface temperatures to daytime heating and nighttime cooling has an amplitude of a few tenths of degree. The computed diurnal heat budget experiences a net warming tendency of 31 and 27 W m−2 at 0° N and 10° S, respectively, and a cooling tendency of 122 W m−2 at 6° S. Both observed and simulated mixed-layer depths experience a jump between the nighttime convection phase and the well-stabilized diurnal water column. Its amplitude changes dramatically depending on the meteorological conditions occurring at the stations and reaches its maximum amplitude (~50 m) at 10° S. At 6° and 10° S, the presence of barrier layers is observed, a feature that is clearer at 10° S. Simulated turbulent kinetic energy (TKE) dissipation rates, compared to independent microstructure measurements, show that the model tracks their diurnal evolution reasonably well. It is also shown that the shear and buoyancy productions and the vertical diffusion of TKE all contribute to the supply of TKE, but the buoyancy production is the main source of TKE during the period of the simulation.