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The influence of the Gulf Stream induced SST gradients on the US East Coast winter storm of 24-25 January 2000

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This study presents an investigation of the influence of remotely sensed high resolution sea surface temperature (SST) and the SST gradient on the formation and evolution of the 24-25 January 2000 East Coast winter storm. A numerical model was employed for experimental simulation replaced SST analysis with a 1.1 km gridded data set. The most significant improvements were seen in the forecast deepening rate and track. Reduced development of the storm in the control simulation, as compared to the experimental simulation, appears to be due to the coarse grid SST representation, which fails to capture key thermal gradient features of the Gulf Stream. The simulations suggest that the high resolution remotely sensed SST data affect the track by changing the location of lower-tropospheric frontal boundaries through thermally-induced near-surface convergence and differential turbulent heat flux. Enhanced vortex stretching associated with the convergence along the lower frontal boundary appears to contribute to a stronger storm in the experimental simulations.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: AirDat LLC, Morrisville, NC 27560, USA 2: Department of Marine, Earth, and Atmospheric Sciences, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695-8208, USA

Publication date: 2008-11-01

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