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Free Content Air–Water Heat Energy Fluxes in the Lower Florida Keys: Fall and Winter Months

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Water temperature data collected from the Gulf of Mexico side of the lower Florida Keys during a 160-day study in the fall and winter of 1987–1988 show a quasi-periodic, but highly asymmetric rise and fall over time scales on the order of 2 weeks superimposed on the annual cooling and warming cycle. These biweekly events are characterized by a sudden decrease in temperatures of 3–6°C followed by a more gradual warming. A one-dimensional computer model of local heat energy fluxes through the air–water interface uses hourly surface observations from Key West Airport, 47 km from the study site. Incoming solar radiation explains 97% of the simulated warming while sensible heat flux accounts for the remaining 3%. Latent heat flux and net outgoing longwave radiation account for 70% and 30% of the simulated heat loss, respectively. Results show that 82% of the variance in the water temperature time series can be explained by local air–water heat energy fluxes. Assuming minimal heat conduction through the water-sediment interface, the remaining 18% of the variance is due to advection and differences in weather conditions between Key West and the study site.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 May 1995

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  • The Bulletin of Marine Science is dedicated to the dissemination of high quality research from the world's oceans. All aspects of marine science are treated by the Bulletin of Marine Science, including papers in marine biology, biological oceanography, fisheries, marine affairs, applied marine physics, marine geology and geophysics, marine and atmospheric chemistry, and meteorology and physical oceanography.
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