Monthly, seasonal, and interannual variations of the heat content in the surface layers of the Northern Hemisphere oceans
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Monthly, seasonal, and interannual variations of the heat content in the surface layers of the Northern Hemisphere oceans

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    Monthly heat content changes in the upper 120 m of northern hemisphere oceans were computed for the years 1967 and 1968, using synoptic sea surface temperature (SST) and mixed layer depth (MLD) analysis, total heat exchange computations (bulk formulas), surface meteorological analysis, and ocean climatic temperatures. The heat content distribution in the upper 120 m of the ocean is approximately latitudinal in the North Pacific, but in the North Atlantic the heat content of the eastern areas is considerably higher than that of the western areas of the ocean. The heat storage change in the upper 120 m between February and August is highest between 35° and 45°N in the western areas of both oceans (>50 kcal cm 2 ) . During the winter season, monthly heating and cooling patterns of surface layers are approximately latitudinal. Greatest interannual differences in heating/cooling in winter occur in the tropics, due to cloud cover and trade wind variations. Greatest advective changes of heat in the surface layers occur in the mid-latitudes in winter. In the summer, heat exchange patterns are more complex and greater year-to-year and east to west differences occur than during winter. With the exception of the trade wind regions, advective changes in summer are smaller due to slower surface currents, caused by lighter surface winds. Monthly changes in SST are relatively small during the winter; however, heat loss at medium and high latitudes and gain at low latitudes continues as a consequence of convection and the deepening of MLD. Greatest changes in SST occur in mid-latitudes during May and November, while year-to-year differences in SST In these months are of the order of 1° to 2.5°C.
  • Content Notes:
    by Taivo Laevastu.

    "June 1983."

    Also available online in PDF format via AFSC and the NOAA Central Library.

    Includes bibliographical references (pages 39-40).

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