Table Of Contents

This Page

02.11.11: Correlation between stratification and SST gradient


  • In the HYCOM model, in Spring, gradient of sea surface temperature are well correlated with stratification within the surface mixed layer. This suggests that we might be able to extract this relationship from observations, SST from GHRSST and N from ARGO data.
  • The relationship is true only during Winter-Spring, when the frontogenetic instabilities occur.


Here, I show that the gradient of sea surface temperature (SST), which locates where there are density fronts, is correlated with the stratification N witin the surface mixed layer. Fig. 1 shows the gradient and, in Fig. 2, it is plotted with contours of N. For most of the events, the two are well correlated. This is demonstrated by a scatter plot for a subdomain northeast of Hawaii in Fig. 3.


Figure 1: Gradient of SST on Jan. 15, 2010 in HYCOM.


Figure 2: Contours of N at 10 m depth superimposed onto the gradient of SST on Jan. 15, 2010 in HYCOM.


Figure 3: N (at 10 m depth) versus the gradient of SST from a region northeast of Hawaii on Jan. 15, 2010 in HYCOM.

Fig. 4 and 5 show that outside Spring, for instance in Summer, the SST gradient is much weaker and it is not well correlated with N.


Figure 4: Same as Fig. 2 but for Jul. 15, 2010.


Figure 5: Same as Fig. 3 but for Jul 15, 2010.

Computed using rel_vort_HOT_track.m in RESEARCH/PROJECTS/MARINE_BIOLOGY/SUBMESOSCALE_PROCESSES/HYCOM/analysis/rel_vort_HOT_track/ on ipu1.