An array of instruments air-deployed ahead of Hurricane Frances measured the three-dimensional, time dependent response of the ocean to this strong (60 ms?1) storm. Sea surface temperature cooled by up to 2.2?C with the greatest cooling occurring in a 50-km-wide band centered 60–85 km to the right of the track. The cooling was almost entirely due to vertical mixing, not air-sea heat fluxes. Currents of up to 1.6 ms?1 and thermocline displacements of up to 50 m dispersed as near-inertial internal waves. The heat in excess of 26?C, decreased behind the storm due primarily to horizontal advection of heat away from the storm track, with a small contribution from mixing across the 26?C isotherm. SST cooling under the storm core (0.4?C) produced a 16% decrease in air-sea heat flux implying an approximately 5 ms?1 reduction in peak winds.
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