A Study on Bulk and Skin Temperature Difference using Observations from Atlantic and Pacific Coastal Regions of United States
Alappattu, Denny P.
Lind, Richard J.
Christman, Adam J.
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Analysis of bulk-skin sea surface temperature (SST) difference form the west and east coasts of United States is presented using the data collected from three field experiments. These experiments were conducted at offshore Duck, North Carolina and in the Monterey Bay of the California coastal region. Bulk SST measurements were made using conventional thermistors from a depth of one meter below the sea level. Infrared radiometers were used to measure the surface skin SST. Depending on measurement depth and prevailing conditions, the bulk SST can differ from skin SST by few tenths of a degree to O(1°C). Difference between bulk and skin SST arise from cools skin and warm layer effects. Bulk-skin SST difference (ΔSST) estimated from east coast observations varied from -0.46°C to 1.24°C. Here, the bulk SST was higher than skin SST most of the time during the observations. This indicates cool skin effect was the dominant factor determining the ΔSST in the east coast. For wind speeds less than 4 m s-1, we also noticed an increase in ΔSST. Additionally, for low winds (< 4 m s-1) ΔSST also varied diurnally with the occurrence of generally higher ΔSST in the nighttime in comparison with daytime. Moreover, increase in downwelling longwave radiation reduced the bulk-skin SST difference. ΔSST calculated from the observation in the Monterey bay varied between ~2.3° and ~-2.3°C. This was higher than the variability ΔSST observed at the east coast. Moreover, ΔSST variability observed at west coast was independent of wind speed.
The article of record as published may be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/12.2263533