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Advances in Understanding Decadal Climate VariabilityRecently, a joint Brazil-France-U.S. program, known as PIRATA (Pilot Research moored Array in the Tropical Atlantic), was proposed to begin the deployment of moored measurement platforms in the tropical Atlantic in order to enhance the existing observational data base and subsequent understanding of the processes by which the ocean and atmosphere couple in key regions of the tropical Atlantic Ocean. Empirical studies have suggested that there are strong relationships between tropical Atlantic upper ocean variability, SST, ocean-atmosphere coupling and regional climate variability. During the early 1980's a coordinated set of surface wind, subsurface thermal structure, and subsurface current observations were obtained as part of the U.S.-France SEQUAL-FOCAL process experiment designed to observe the seasonal response of the tropical Atlantic Ocean to surface forcing. Since that time, however, the observational data base for the tropical Atlantic Ocean has disintegrated to a few ship-tracks measuring ocean temperatures and a small collection of tide gauge stations measuring sea level. A more comprehensive set of observations, modeling and empirical studies is now in order to make progress on understanding the regional climate variability. The proposed PIRATA program will use mooring platforms similar to the tropical Pacific Ocean TAO array to measure surface fluxes of momentum and heat and the corresponding changes in the upper ocean thermal structure. It is anticipated that the oceanic data from this monitoring array will also be used in a predictive mode for initialization studies of regional coupled climate models. Of particular interest are zonal and meridional modes of ocean-atmosphere variability within the tropical Atlantic basin that have significant impacts on the regional climate of the bordering continents.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
Busalacchi, Antonio J. (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD United States)
Date Acquired
August 18, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1999
Subject Category
Environment Pollution
Meeting Information
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