Barrier Layer Development Local to Tropical Cyclones based on Argo Float Observations
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Barrier Layer Development Local to Tropical Cyclones based on Argo Float Observations

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  • Journal Title:
    Journal of Physical Oceanography
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    The objective of this study is to quantify barrier layer development due to tropical cyclone (TC) passage using Argo float observations of temperature and salinity. To accomplish this objective, a climatology of Argo float measurements is developed from 2001 to 2014 for the Atlantic, eastern Pacific, and central Pacific basins. Each Argo float sample consists of a prestorm and poststorm temperature and salinity profile pair. In addition, a no-TC Argo pair dataset is derived for comparison to account for natural ocean state variability and instrument sensitivity. The Atlantic basin shows a statistically significant increase in barrier layer thickness (BLT) and barrier layer potential energy (BLPE) that is largely attributable to an increase of 2.6 m in the post-TC isothermal layer depth (ITLD). The eastern Pacific basin shows no significant changes to any barrier layer characteristic, likely due to a shallow and highly stratified pycnocline. However, the near-surface layer freshens in the upper 30 m after TC passage, which increases static stability. Finally, the central Pacific has a statistically significant freshening in the upper 20-30 m that increases upper-ocean stratification by similar to 35%. The mechanisms responsible for increases in BLPE vary between the Atlantic and both Pacific basins; the Atlantic is sensitive to ITLD deepening, while the Pacific basins show near-surface freshening to be more important in barrier layer development. In addition, Argo data subsets are used to investigate the physical relationships between the barrier layer and TC intensity, TC translation speed, radial distance from TC center, and time after TC passage.
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    Journal of Physical Oceanography, 48(9), 1951-1968.
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