Respective roles of remote and local wind stress forcings in the development of warm SST errors in the South-Eastern Tropical Atlantic in a coupled high-resolution model

Goubanova, Katerina ; Sanchez-Gomez, Emilia ; Frauen, Claudia ; Voldoire, Aurore

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<p align=justify>Processes involved in the development of the warm sea surface temperature (SST) bias in the Tropical South-Eastern Atlantic (SETA) in a high resolution (HR) version of the CNRM-CM model are evaluated based on full-field initialized seasonal hindcasts starting at 1 February of each year for 2000-2009. Whereas the initial SST growth is likely associated with local atmospheric forcing, its further development is due to remote oceanic processes. A mixed layer heat budget analysis in SETA indicates a spurious warm horizontal advection observed as far as south of 25°S that appears at the beginning of March. It is associated with an erroneous oceanic mean state at the equator resulting from the mean equatorial westerly wind bias. A sensitivity experiment with corrected wind stress over the equatorial region suggests that the remote forcing explains about 57% of the SETA SST bias in March-May. Comparison with a lower resolution (LR) version of the model reveals that in general similar processes are responsible for the SST bias in both models. A strong reduction of the bias in the HR model is observed only over the near-coastal Southern Benguela region due to a better representation of atmospheric and oceanic processes controlling the coastal upwelling. Overall, the results of the inter-comparison of the SETA SST bias evolution in different sensitivity experiments performed in this study can be interpreted in terms of the relative contributions of (erroneous) warm horizontal advection, associated with equatorial forcing, and cold horizontal advection, associated with local offshore Ekman transport.</p>
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