Spatial and temporal variability of sea breezes and synoptic influences over the surface wind field of the Yucatán Peninsula

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Miguel A. Cahuich-López
Ismael Mariño-Tapia
Alejandro José Souza
Gerardo Gold-Bouchot
Mark Cohen
David Valdés-Lozano


The balance between synoptic and sea breeze atmospheric phenomena can profoundly influence atmospheric circulation in coastal regions. In this paper, a comprehensive study to understand the quasi-permanent patterns of such variability over the surface wind field of the Yucatán Peninsula is described. We performed a Complex Empirical Orthogonal Function (CEOF) analysis on 10 years (May 2007-May 2017) of modeled surface winds from the North American Mesoscale Forecast System (hereafter, NAM). High-pass/low-pass filtering was applied to the time series obtained from the CEOF analysis, to study the high and low-frequency temporal behavior that can be associated with the modes. Results show that for the period from October to March, cold fronts dominate in two different patterns (first two modes), which damp the local winds that show higher amplitude during the nighttime (land breezes) than during the daytime (sea breezes). By the end of this season, the influence of tropical systems, although smaller, is noticeable (third mode). From April to September the peninsula is dominated by sea breezes accentuated at the western shelf (first mode) while land breezes exhibit lesser dominance than sea breezes (third mode). In this period cold fronts and tropical systems (mode 2) exert milder influence over local winds. A distinctive phenomenon seen in the high frequencies of the second mode during this period is the occurrence of peninsula-wide sea breeze. The results of this work have important implications for atmospheric pollutant dispersion, wind wave generation and coastal erosion, among others.


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