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Keywords:

  • western South Atlantic;
  • Brazil-Malvinas Confluence region;
  • boundary layer modulation

Abstract

[1] The influence of the Brazil-Malvinas Confluence (BMC) region on the marine atmospheric boundary layer (MABL) is investigated through in situ data analysis of five different cruises (2004 to 2008) and numerical experiments with a regional atmospheric model. Two different groups of numerical experiments were performed in order to evaluate the relevance of static stability and hydrostatic balance physical mechanisms for the MABL instability. The first group used monthly climatological sea surface temperature (SST) as bottom boundary condition while the second used daily updated Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer–EOS SST data together with radiosondes and surface data assimilation. A reasonable agreement between numerical results and QuikSCAT wind data was observed through correlation coefficients and mean square error values. In terms of the horizontal structure of the MABL, stronger winds were found over the warm side of the BMC region as well as over the thermal front itself, which supports the coexistence of both modulation mechanisms. The analyzed patterns of surface atmospheric thermal advection showed a clear interaction between the synoptic and regional scales. The signature of the oceanic thermal front (almost meridionally oriented) on the air temperature at 2 m makes the temperature advection strongly determined by the zonal component of the wind. The analysis of momentum budget terms did not show a clear and reasonable explanation of the existence or predominance of the modulation mechanisms, and it also suggested the relevance of other effects, such as the idea based on unbalanced Coriolis force and turbulence/friction effects.