Annual Mean Surface Heat Fluxes in the Gulf of Mexico

Miriam Alin Calva, National Autonomous University of Mexico, Atmosphere Science Center, Ciudad de México, DF, Mexico, Jorge Zavala-Hidalgo, Univ Nacional Autonoma Mexico, Mexico City, EM, Mexico; National Autonomous University of Mexico, Atmospheric Science Center, Coyoacan, DF, Mexico, Rosario Romero-Centeno, UNIV NACIONAL AUTONOMA MEXICO, Mexico City, DF, Mexico, Maria Elena Osorio-Tai, UNAM - Facultad de Ingeniera, Coyomeapan, DF, Mexico and Angelica Pedraza-Diaz, National Autonomous University of Mexico, Mexico City, DF, Mexico
In this study, the surface heat fluxes between the atmosphere and the ocean in the Gulf of Mexico (GoM) were calculated using a Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) reanalysis, buoys observations and satellite data. The annual variability of the net heat flux, evaporation, precipitation, specific humidity, wind, air temperature and sea surface temperature were examined. Our results show that heat fluxes have a very defined spatial structure and considerable seasonal variability. It is possible to consider a regionalization of the GoM in two main regions, where the northeastern sub-region gains heat and the southwestern sub-region loses heat. The southwestern sub-region is consistent with the area over the Loop Current, where the latent heat is higher. The results show that the GoM loses heat mainly during Winter and Fall, which is related to the cold fronts. The variation of the latent heat flux dominates the interannual variability, while the interdecadally variability is more related to the wind.