NOAA/AOML Regional Satellite Products

Introduction

Overview

    We present here satellite products, including time series of sea surface temperature (SST) and sea height anomaly (SHA) over several geographic regions.

Satellite Data

  • Sea Surface Temperature

    SST data from different sources are used here. SST data from 1985 to mid-1998 are obtained from the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) on board the NOAA polar orbiting satellite (More info).

    For more recent years (1998-2002), data obtained from observations made by a radiometer on board the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite are used. The TRMM Microwave Imager (TMI) is a well-calibrated radiometer that contains lower frequency channels required for SST retrievals (More info). The TMI data are provided as daily sets, available from December 1997 to the present.

    Since May, 2002, data from the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer (AMSR-E) aboard NASA's Aqua spacecraft are available and are also used (More info).

  • Sea Height Anomaly

    Gridded seven days delay time (DT) data are generally available until six month prior to the current date. We use the inhomogeneous DT data set from AVISO. For more recent dates, we use the near real time (NRT) daily data set (More info).

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Geographic Regions

    Products that are key for weather and climate studies and that derived from these parameters are presented for several regions.

  • Gulf of Mexico

    The Gulf of Mexico (GOM) dynamics is dominated by the Loop Current (LC), the main feature of the circulation in the eastern GOM. The LC episodically sheds warm-core eddies (anticyclonic rings), that generally translate westward with intense currents. This region is also of importance because the LC and its associated ring have been linked to hurricane intensification.

  • El Niño South Oscillation regions 1.2, 3, 3.4 and 4

    Year-to-year variability associated with the El Niño South Oscillation (ENSO) is governed by large-scale ocean dynamics and coupled ocean-atmosphere interactions, which result in alternating periods of anomalously warm El Niño conditions and cold La Niña conditions every 2-7 years. From the study of the ENSO phenomena much has been learned about the mechanism of climate variability in the tropical pacific, including the active contribution of upper-ocean dynamics. All ENSO theoretical studies assign an important role to upper ocean dynamics and heat storage, as the ocean accounts for much of the "inertia" of the coupled system and introduces temporal phase lags that help sustain interannual oscillations.

    Several regions have been defined to study the ENSO. We present products for four ENSO regions defined as follows:

    ENSO 1.2: include both ENSO 1 and 2, delimited by 0°-5°S, 90°W-80°W and 5°S-10°S, 90°W-80°W, respectively

    ENSO 3: delimited by 5°N-5°S, 150°W-90°W

    ENSO 3.4: delimited by 5°N-5°S, 170°W-120°W

    ENSO 4: delimited by 5°N-5°S, 160°E-150°W

  • Atlantic 3 region

    While ENSO accounts for the largest single contribution to interannual climate variability globally, it is not the only source, particularly for the extratropics and the Indian and Atlantic ocean sectors of the tropics. A number of studies have documented climatic anomalies in regions surrounding the tropical Atlantic showing clear relationships between regional climate anomalies and tropical basin-scale patterns of Atlantic SST. Many of the observed anomalies are accompanied by extreme precipitations in the tropical Atlantic and several regions of Africa.

    The Atlantic 3 (ATL3) region is delimited by 3°N-3°S, 20°W-0°

  • North Atlantic region

    A region in the north Atlantic ocean (ATLN) is also considered and products are developed for this region because of its importance in the hurricane formation.

    The ATLN region is delimited by 40°N-10°N, 80°W-20°W

  • Western Hemisphere and Indo-Pacific Warm Pool region

    The global ocean has two largest bodies of very warm water, both of which are located in the tropics. One of these bodies is called Western Hemisphere Warm Pool (WHWP), and comprise the eastern North Pacific west of Central America, the Intra-Americas Sea (i.e., the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea) and the western tropical North Atlantic. The other extends over the Eastern Hemisphere and is commonly known as the Indo-Pacific Warm Pool (IPWP). Both warm pools are defined as the region in the ocean where the SST are warmer than 28.5°C. Unlike the IPWP, which straddles the equator, the WHWP is entirely located north of the equator.

    The expansion and movement of these warm pools are associated with changes in atmospheric convection and in the ocean. Shift, changes and convective activity of these water masses lead to altered atmospheric circulation pattern such as Walker and Hadley circulations and then affect global climate and weather. In the case of the IPWP, its variations also plays an important role in the evolution of the ENSO. Previous studies have documented impacts of the warm pools on tropical cyclone activity and rainfall based on historical data. Since warm pools are also regions of deep convection caused by warm SST, changes in local precipitation follow the variation of warm pool mean SST and extension.

    The WHWP displays multiscale variability that includes mainly interannual, multidecadal, and secular variations. In comparison with the IPWP, the amplitude of the WHWP indices is large, indicating that the WHWP departs largely from its climatological mean. The multidecadal variability of the WHWP shows the signal of the Atlantic multidecadal oscillation (AMO).

    Recent studies have shown that the Atlantic portion of the WHWP (AWP) is significantly correlated with Atlantic hurricane activity. A large (or small) AWP reduces (or increases) the tropospheric vertical wind shear in the main development region for Atlantic hurricanes and increases (or decreases) the moist static instability of the troposphere, both of which favor (or don't favor) the intensification of tropical storms into major hurricanes. Additionally, a study of climate records has shown a relationship between El Niño and the Western Hemisphere Warm Pool (WHWP). During a normal Northern Hemisphere winter, diabatic heating over the Amazon drives a Hadley cell with descending air over an anticyclone north of 20°N in the subtropical North Atlantic and associated northeast trade winds between Africa and the Caribbean. An El Niño weakens the Amazonian cell, the anticyclone and the easterly tradewinds, causing the tropical North Atlantic to warm more than usual in the spring. About half of El Niño events persist sufficiently into the spring months for the warm pool to become unusually large by summer.

    The WHWP and IPWP variability can be studied in terms of the SST area index, defined as the area inside the 28.5°C isotherm and the mean sea height inside the same isotherm. This web site contains several products including time series and residuals of these parameters for both regions.

Bibliography

The following is a list of articles about the various topics involved in warm pool studies.

a) Climate impacts of the Western Hemipshere warm pool:

Wang, C., S.-K. Lee and C.R. Mechoso, 2010. Inter-Hemispheric Influence of the Atlantic Warm Pool on the Southeastern Pacific. Journal of Climate, 23, 404-418. (PDF)

Wang, C., S.-K. Lee and D.B. Enfield, 2008. Climate Response to Anomalously Large and Small Atlantic Warm Pools During the Summer. Journal of Climate, 21, 2437-2450. (PDF)

Wang, C., S.-K. Lee and D.B. Enfield, 2007. Impact of the Atlantic Warm Pool on the Summer Climate of the Western Hemisphere. Journal of Climate, Vol. 20, No. 20, 5021-5040. (PDF)

Wang, C. and S.-K. Lee, 2007. Atlantic Warm Pool, Caribbean Low-Level Jet, and Their Potential Impact on Atlantic Hurricanes. Geophysical Research Letter, Vol. 34, No. L02703, doi:10.1029/2006GL028579. (PDF)

b) Influences of the Western Hemisphere warm pool on Atlantic hurricane activity:

Wang, C. and S.-K. Lee, 2009. Co-variability of Tropical Cyclones in the North Atlantic and the Eastern North Pacific. Geophysical Research Letters, 36, L24702, doi:10.1029/2009GL041469. (PDF)

Wang, C., S.-K. Lee and D.B. Enfield, 2008. Atlantic Warm Pool Acting as a Link between Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation and Atlantic Tropical Cyclone Activity. Geochem. Geophys. Geosyst., 9, Q05V03, doi:10.1029/2007GC001809. (In the special issue of "Interactions between climate and tropical cyclones on all timescales") (PDF)

Wang, C. and S.-K. Lee, 2008. Global Warming and United States Landfalling Hurricanes. Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 35, No. L02708, doi:10.1029/2007GL032396. (PDF)

Wang, C., D.B. Enfield, S.-K. Lee, and C.W. Landsea, 2006: Influences of the Atlantic Warm Pool on Western Hemisphere Summer Rainfall and Atlantic Hurricanes. J. Climate, 19, 3011-3028. (PDF)

c) Western Hemisphere warm pool variability:

Lee, S.-K., D.B. Enfield and C. Wang, 2008. Why Do Some El Niños Have No Impact on Tropical North Atlantic SST? Geophysical Research Letters, 35, L16705, doi:10.1029/2008GL034734. (PDF)

Lee, S.-K., D.B. Enfield and C. Wang, 2007. What Drives the Seasonal Onset and Decay of the Western Hemisphere Warm Pool? Journal of Climate, Vol. 20, No. 10, 2133-2146. (PDF)

Enfield, D.B., S.-K. Lee, C. Wang, 2006. How Are Large Western Hemisphere Warm Pools Formed?. Progress in Oceanography, Vol. 70, No. 2-4, 346-365. (PDF)

Lee, S.-K., D.B. Enfield, C. Wang, 2005. Ocean General Circulation Model Sensitivity Experiments on the Annual Cycle of Western Hemisphere Warm Pool. Journal of Geophysical Research, Vol. 110, No. C09004, doi:10.1029/2004JC002640. (PDF)

Enfield, D.B., S.-K. Lee, 2005. The Heat Balance of the Western Hemisphere Warm Pool. Journal of Climate, Vol. 18, No. 14, 2662-2681. (PDF)

Wang, C., 2005: ENSO, Atlantic Climate Variability, and the Walker and Hadley Circulations. The Hadley Circulation: Present, Past, and Future, H. F. Diaz and R. S. Bradley, Eds., Kluwer Academic Publisher: 173-202. (PDF)

Wang, C. and D.B. Enfield., 2001: The Tropical Western Hemisphere Warm Pool. Geophys. Res. Lett., 28, 1635-1638. (PDF)

d) Indo-Pacific warm pool:

Wang, H. and V.M. Mehta, 2008: Decadal Variability of the Indo-Pacific Warm Pool and its Associated with Atmospheric and Oceanic Variability in the NCEP-NCAR and SODA Reanalyses. J. Climate, 21, 5545-5565. (PDF)

Picaut, J., et al, 1996: Mechanism of the Zonal Displacements of the Pacific Warm Pool: Implications for ENSO. Science, 274, 1486-1489.

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