Heat Flux and Precipitation Estimates from Oceanographic Observations

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Science  01 Jun 1973:
Vol. 180, Issue 4089, pp. 960-962
DOI: 10.1126/science.180.4089.960


Surface meteorological observations and salinity and temperature profiles were made in the intertropical convergence zone during July 1972. Over an 18-hour period, estimates of the heat budget in the top layer of the ocean and estimates of the total heat flux made by using aerodynamic parameterization equations balance within 10 percent. The salinity budget provides a precipitation estimate. Due to the stable stratification established by the salinity dilution in the wave-mixed layer by rain, the total heat flux to the atmosphere is being extracted from this shallow layer. As a result, large sea surface temperature drops occur regionally and may be capable of inhibiting atmospheric convection.