Far-Field Simulation of the Hawaiian Wake: Sea Surface Temperature and Orographic Effects*
Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences
Recent satellite observations reveal far-reaching effects of the Hawaiian Islands on surface wind, cloud, ocean current, and sea surface temperature (SST) that extend leeward over an unusually long distance (Ͼ1000 km). A three-dimensional regional atmospheric model with full physics is used to investigate the cause of this long wake. While previous wind-wake studies tend to focus on regions near the islands, the emphasis here is the far-field effects of SST and orography well away from the
... away from the Hawaiian Islands. In response to an island-induced SST pattern, the model produces surface wind and cloud anomaly patterns that resemble those observed by satellites. In particular, anomalous surface winds are found to converge onto a zonal band of warmer water, with cloud liquid water content enhanced over it but reduced on the northern and southern sides. In the vertical, a two-cell meridional circulation develops of a baroclinic structure with the rising motion and thicker clouds over the warm water band. The model response in the wind and cloud fields supports the hypothesis that oceanatmosphere interaction is crucial for sustaining the island effects over a few thousand kilometers. Near Hawaii, mountains generate separate wind wakes in the model lee of individual islands as observed by satellites. Under orographic forcing, the model simulates the windward cloud line and the southwest-tilted cloud band leeward of the Big Island. In the far field, orographically induced wind perturbations are found to be in geostrophic balance with pressure anomalies, indicative of quasigeostrophic Rossby wave propagation. A shallowwater model is developed for disturbances trapped in the inversion-capped planetary boundary layer. The westward propagation of Rossby waves is found to increase the wake length significantly, consistent with the threedimensional simulation.