PREFACE - Enhancing PREdiction oF tropical Atlanbtic ClimatE and its impacts

PREFACE aims at a better understanding of the physical processes driving today's climate in the Tropical Atlantic. Understanding the interaction of the atmosphere and ocean in the Tropical Atlantic region is key to accurately project the future climate for the Tropical Atlantic region as well as the global climate. In the framework of PREFACE a quantification of the cumulative effects of climate variability, greenhouse-induced climate change and fisheries on marine ecosystems and functional diversity is aspired. Furthermore, one objective is to assess socio-economic vulnerabilities of the West-African fishing communities and evaluate their resilience to climate-driven ecosystem shifts and global markets.

WP3: Heat and freshwater budgets, air-sea interaction

WP3 focuses on improving the understanding of the physical processes controlling the mixed layer heat and freshwater balances in the eastern boundary upwelling regions and in the Gulf of Guinea. Heat and freshwater budgets in coastal upwelling regions and surrounding areas are key quantities for the validation of high-resolution ocean models and finally the development of improved simulations of coupled climate models (e.g. Hummels et al., 2013).

In the tropical Atlantic upwelling regions, the heat and freshwater budgets and thus sea surface temperature and salinity, are predominately controlled by transport and mixing processes occurring in the upper ocean. The work package aims at quantifying the contribution of the individual oceanic processes on the mixed layer budgets. The specific objectives of WP3 are as follows:

  1. Determination of the seasonal and interannual variability of the mixed layer heat and fresh water budgets by quantifying air-sea fluxes and diapycnal, isopycnal and advective heat and freshwater fluxes in the eastern boundary upwelling systems and the Gulf of Guinea
  2. Investigation of the local air-sea interaction and ocean feedbacks in frontal regions and the impact of short period wind fluctuations on both Bjerknes and wind-evaporation-SST feedbacks controlling interannual and longer time scales
  3. Analysis of the impact of near-inertial oscillations on mixed layer depth and their contributions to the mixed layer heat budget

For a list of observations to be used in PREFACE, please follow this link: Observations

Dr. Marcus Dengler
Prof. Dr. Peter Brandt
Dr. Willi Rath
Msc. Robert Kopte