SEQUAL: A study of the equatorial Atlantic Ocean*


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SEQUAL (Seasonal Response of the Equatorial Atlantic) is a program to study the dynamical response of the upper equatorial Atlantic Ocean to the seasonally varying surface winds. This response affects the climate of the earth because, in low latitudes, seasonal and interannual changes in the heat content of the upper ocean a redetermined not only by the local fluxes of heat from the atmosphere to the ocean but also by the large-scale dynamical response of the ocean to variable winds. In the tropical Atlantic, for example, seasonal changes in the heat storage are caused primarily by the horizontal redistribution of heat associated with wind-induced changes in the topography of the thermocline (Figure 1). The object of SEQUAL is to describe accurately, and to model correctly, the changes in the upper ocean currents, density field, and surface winds during one season throughout the equatorial Atlantic Ocean.