Research on Atmosphere-Ocean Interaction

It is thought that the ocean, which covers about 70% of the earth’s surface and acts as a large supply source for heat and water vapor, plays a large role in the formation of atmospheric circulation and climate. Characteristic examples of atmosphere-ocean interaction are the tropical variations typified by El Nino, and the large amounts of continental rain brought on by monsoons. Recently, it has become clear that mid-latitude oceans, including the waters surrounding Japan, also influence atmospheric variations. However, much of it is still unknown. It could be said that research on mid-latitudinal ocean-atmosphere interaction is a challenging theme whether using observational approaches or approaches that utilize numerical experiments.

Because this course is composed of instructors, researchers, and graduate students that specialize in atmospheric science (meteorology) and physical oceanography, we take pride in the fact that they are making unprecedented research and educational progress through their research on atmosphere-ocean interactions.

(Left) At Kuroshio / Kuroshio Extension, above warm water (cold water) there is a fast (slow) ocean surface wind. Just like you blow on coffee to cool it down, a wind will generally cool ocean water down. Observational evidence indicating the opposite relationship shows that warm water temperature will impact fast wind speeds. In other words, this indicates there is an interaction in the ocean  atmosphere direction.

Details of the figure above can be found here

(Right): Generally wind speed is faster at the higher altitude. Because the atmosphere gains heat from the warm water below and results in active vertical convection, the large momentum found in higher altitude accelerates the ocean wind. Because the heat added to the atmosphere above cold water is small, the acceleration due to vertical convection is small, resulting in weak wind speeds.
Details of the figure to the left can be found here