Carlos D. Szembek
Primary Masters Thesis
Determination of the Role of Westerly Wind Bursts and Ocean Energetics on the Development of El Niño.

Westerly Wind Burst
This loops shows the development of a Westerly Wind Burst (WWB) just east of Indonesia at about day 60 (the day is noted in the upper left-hand corner). The impact of the wind stress on the surface currents is believed to lead to the development of an El Niño.

Surface Currents
This loop shows the impact of a WWB (shown in the coincident Westerly Wind Burst loop) on the ocean's surface currents. The WWB occurs just east of Indonesia.

Thermocline
For the same corresponding 3-year period, the modeled temperatures of the equatorial Pacific cross-section reveal the onset of the El Niño event (i.e. the flattening of the thermocline) at the end of year 1. The units shown are degrees Celsius.

Anomaly in the Thermocline
This 3-year loop shows a modeled cross-section of the equatorial Pacific Ocean (off the coast of Indonesia on the left and off the coast of Ecuador on the right). Of note in the first year is a eastward moving downwelling Kelvin wave along the thermocline, the layer in of abruptly changing temperatures from the warmer surface waters to the colder deep waters. This anomalous wave ultimately culminates with an El Niño event at the end of year 1. The units shown are degrees Celsius.

Secondary Discourse
A case study of a smoke plume emitted during a large forest fire is analyzed to detect any variations of the vertical structure of the plume due to thermal lift. This added buoyancy is proposed to be due to radiative heating of black carbon aerosols in the plume itself.
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