Strong gap flow into the Gulf of Tehuantepec

November 26th, 2021 |
GOES-16 True Color imagery, 1330 – 1520 UTC on 26 November 2021

GOES-16 True-Color imagery from the CSPP Geosphere site (link showing the data above) on 26 November, above, show features associated with strong flow through Chivela Pass in southern Mexico, gap winds often called Tehuano winds or Tehuantepecers. Strong descent associated with these events can often limit the presence of clouds that can be used as tracers. However, scatterometry (from this website) will show surface winds, and an MetopB overpass shortly after the end of the animation above, below, shows a core of strong winds over the ocean.

ASCAT Winds from Metop-B, 1532 UTC on 26 November 2021 (Click to enlarge)

The GOES-16 CONUS domain extends southward to the northern part of the Gulf of Tehuantepec (about 14.6 N Latitude). Visible imagery from 1516 UTC, below, is overlain with the Derived Motion Wind vectors (in the surface – 900 mb layer) at the same time. Strong northerly winds north of Chivela Pass are apparent, but the lack of clouds to track in the Gulf prevented the inference of winds there from the GOES-16 data.

GOES-16 Visible Imagery (Band 2, 0.64 ┬Ám) and Derived Motion Winds, surface-900 mb, 1516 UTC 26 November 2021 (Click to enlarge)

The strong winds are also associated with a local increase in Aerosol Optical Depth (AOD), as shown below.

GOES-16 Aerosol Optical Depth (AOD) at 1520 UTC on 26 November 2021 (click to enlarge)

Strong winds will cause significant mixing in the upper part of the ocean, which will result in cooling. Imagery from this website (shown below) shows cooling in the Gulf from previous events. Here is an animation from that website, courtesy Tim Schmit, NOAA/NESDIS/STAR

SST analysis valid at 24 November 2021 (Click to enlarge)


GOES-17 True Color RGB images [click to play animated GIF | MP4]

In GOES-17 True Color images created using Geo2Grid (above), enhanced forward scattering during the morning hours helped to highlight the offshore transport of airborne dust.

Other blog posts discussing Tehuano wind events can be found here.