Oregon State University

College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences

Directory of People

Simon de Szoeke

Simon de Szoeke photo
Associate Professor
Discipline: Physics of Oceans and Atmospheres
Office: Burt 312
Phone: 541-737-8391
Email: sdeszoek@coas.oregonstate.edu


Atmosphere-ocean interaction, Stratiform clouds, Tropical meteorology

Research Interests

I am interested in atmosphere-ocean interaction, and its influence on the climate. Much of my research focuses on the tropics. They receive the most sunlight, resulting in warm sea surface temperature, and strong fluxes of heat from the ocean to the atmosphere. Most of the heat transferred to the atmosphere is in the form of evaporation. Water vapor condenses in rain clouds and the heat of condensation drives the large-scale circulation of the atmosphere. Wind from the atmosphere blows across the ocean surface and drives ocean currents. Clouds themselves are an important player in atmosphere-ocean interaction, because they shade the ocean surface from the sun, keeping it cooler.

I model or observe important and interesting regional processes, like strong ocean upwelling and stratiform clouds in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean, and intraseasonal variability, organized deep convection, and its air-sea interaction in the central tropical Indian Ocean. I measure heat and momentum fluxes from ships by measuring radiation and turbulent temperature, humidity, and velocity fluctuations. I use data gained from observations and regional models to understand air-sea interaction and clouds, and to understand how well climate models simulate these processes.

Current Research

By reflecting sunlight, marine low clouds have a strong effect on the Earth's radiative heating. Stratiform clouds with high cloud amount are blown by the wind toward warmer water and transition to more broken cumuliform clouds. How this occurs affects the amount of low clouds. I am studying the processes responsible for this transition from turbulent, to synoptic, to seasonal time scales.

One of the things that influences clouds is the inversion strength. The air above low marine clouds is usually very dry. If the air above the cloud is much warmer than the cloud, then cloud can not entrain this warmer air and dry itself out. This 10-day movie of inversion strength shows how it changes from day-to-day due to atmospheric circulations.

I am analyzing data I collected in 2011 on an international field campaign to the central Indian Ocean called DYNAMO, to study the origins of one of the largest-scale tropical weather phenomena, the Madden-Julian oscillation (MJO). Using the observations I test theories for the genesis and eastward propagation of the MJO. I am interested in air-sea flux feedbacks to the MJO, the response to and role of sea surface temperature on the rain in the MJO, and the role of surface evaporation in recharging the atmosphere between large scale convective rain events.


Ph.D., Atmospheric Sciences: University of Washington, spring 2004.
Dissertation: Evolution of the cross-equatorial atmospheric boundary layer in the east Pacific: observations and models.

B.A., Summa cum laude, Physics with departmental honors and Mathematics: University of Oregon Robert D. Clark Honors College, 1997.
Thesis, passed with distinction: Determining tolerance for bubbles and dirt in the materials of fusion lasers.



Atmospheric Sciences 320: The Changing Climate

Atmospheric Sciences 411/511: Atmospheric Thermodynamics and Cloud Physics

Atmospheric Sciences 615: Large-Scale Interactions of the Atmosphere and Oceans

Graduate Students

June Marion graduated summer 2014
Thesis: Providing the best turbulent heat flux estimates from eddy correlation and bulk methods using DYNAMO data

Michael Makiyama

Kathryn Verlinden


Marys Peak Observatory



de Szoeke, S. P., J. B. Edson, J. R. Marion, and C. W. Fairall, 2014: The MJO and air-sea interaction in TOGA COARE and DYNAMO. J. Climate, 0.1175/JCLI-D-14-00477.1. PDF

de Szoeke, S. P. and J. B. Edson, 2014: Intraseasonal air-sea interaction and convection observed in DYNAMO/CINDY/AMIE and TOGA COARE. The global monsoon system III: research and forecast, C. P. Chang, Ed., World Scientific, accepted. PDF

Feng, Z., S. Hagos, A. K. Rowe, C. D. Burleyson, M. N. Martini, and S. P. de Szoeke, 2014: Mechanisms of convective cloud organization by cold pools over tropical warm ocean during the AMIE/DYNAMO field campaign. J. Adv. Model. Earth Syst. submitted.

Moum, J. N., S. P. de Szoeke, W. D. Smyth, J. B. Edson, L. DeWitt, A. J. Moulin, E. J. Thompson, C. J. Zappa, S. A. Rutledge, R. H. Johnson, and C. W. Fairall, 2014: Air-sea interactions from Westerly Wind Bursts during the November 2011 MJO in the Indian Ocean. Bull. Amer. Meteorol. Soc., http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/BAMS-D-12-00225.1. PDF

Perlin, N., S. P. de Szoeke, D. B. Chelton, R. M. Samelson, E. D. Skyllingstad, and L. W. O’Neill, 2014: Modeling the Atmospheric Boundary Layer Wind Response to Mesoscale Sea Surface Temperature Perturbations. Mon. Wea. Rev., 10.1175/MWR-D-13-00332.1. PDF

Richter, I., P. Chang, T. Doi, T. Kataoka, M. Nagura, P. Oettli, S. P. de Szoeke, T. Tozuka, and Z. Xu, 2014: An overview of coupled GCM biases in the tropics. The Indo-Pacific Climate Variability and Predictability, T. Yamagata, and S. K. Behera, Eds., World Scientific. accepted. PDF

Skyllingstad, E. D., and S. P. de Szoeke, 2014: Cloud-resolving large-eddy simulation of tropical convective development and surface fluxes. Mon. Wea. Rev., submitted. PDF

Wilbanks, M. C., S. E. Yuter, S. P. de Szoeke, W. A. Brewer, M. A. Miller, A. M. Hall, C. D. Burleyson, 2014: Near-surface density currents observed in the southeast Pacific stratocumulus-topped marine boundary layer, Mon. Wea. Rev., submitted. PDF

Wood, R., M. Wyant, C. S. Bretherton, J. Rémillard, P. Kollias, J. Fletcher, J. Stemmler, S. P. de Szoeke, S. Yuter, M. Miller, D. Mechem, G. Tselioudis, C. Chiu, J. Mann, E. O'Connor, R. Hogan, X. Dong, M. Miller, V. Ghate, A. Jefferson, Q. Min, P. Minnis, R. Palinkonda, B. Albrecht, E. Luke, C. Hannay, and Y. Lin, 2014: Clouds, Aerosol, and Precipitation in the Marine Boundary Layer: An ARM Mobile Facility Deployment. Bull. Amer. Meteorol. Soc., 10.1175/BAMS-D-13-00180.1. PDF


Burleyson, C. D., S. P. de Szoeke, S. E. Yuter, M. Wilbanks, and W. A. Brewer, 2013: Observations of the diurnal cycle of Southeast Pacific marine stratocumulus clouds and precipitation. J. Atmos. Sci, 70, 3876-3894, 10.1175/JAS-D-13-01.1. PDF

Mechoso, C. R., R. Wood, R. Weller, C. S. Bretherton, A. D. Clarke, H. Coe, C. Fairall, J. T. Farrar, G. Feingold, R. Garreaud, C. Grados, J. McWilliams, S. P. de Szoeke, S. E. Yuter, and P. Zuidema, 2013: Ocean-cloud-atmosphere-land interactions in the southeastern Pacific: the VOCALS program. Bull. Amer. Meteorol. Soc., 10.1175/BAMS-D-11-00246.1. PDF


de Szoeke, S. P., S. E. Yuter, D. Mechem, C. W. Fairall, C. D. Burleyson, and P. Zuidema, 2012: Observations of stratocumulus and their effect on the eastern Pacific surface heat budget along 20°S. J. Climate, 8542-8567. PDF

Mechem, D. B., S. E. Yuter, S. P. de Szoeke, 2012: Thermodynamic and aerosol controls on southeastern Pacific stratocumulus. J. Atmos. Sci., 69, 1250-1266. PDF

Moran, K. P., S. Pezoa, C. W. Fairall, C. Williams, T. Ayers, W. A. Brewer, S. P. de Szoeke, V. Ghate, 2012: A motion stabilized W-band radar for shipboard cloud observations and airborne studies of sea spray. J. Bound. Layer Meteorol., 143, 3-24. PDF

Saide, P. E., S. N. Spak, G. R. Carmichael, M. A. Mena-Carrasco, Q. Yang, S. Howell, D. C. Leon, J. R. Snider, A. R. Bandy, J. L. Collett, K. B. Benedict, S. P. de Szoeke, L. N. Hawkins, G. Allen, I. Crawford, J. Crosier, and S. R. Springston, 2012: Evaluating WRF-Chem aerosol indirect effects in Southeast Pacific marine stratocumulus during VOCALS-REx. Atmos. Chem. Phys., 12, 3045-3064, 10.5194/acp-12-3045-2012. PDF


Wood, R., C. R. Mechoso, C. S. Bretherton, R. A. Weller, B. Huebert, F. Straneo, B. A. Albrecht, H. Coe, G. Allen, G. Vaughan, P. Daum, C. Fairall, D. Chand, L. Gallardo Klenner, R. Garreaud, C. Grados, D. S. Covert, T. S. Bates, R. Krejci, L. M. Russell, S. P. de Szoeke, A. Brewer, S. E. Yuter, S. R. Springston, A. Chaigneau, T. Toniazzo, P. Minnis, R. Palikonda, S. J. Abel, W. O. J. Brown, S. Williams, J. Fochesatto, J. Brioude, and K. N. Bower, 2011: The VAMOS Ocean-Cloud-Atmosphere-Land Study Regional Experiment (VOCALS-REx): goals, platforms, and field operations. Atmos. Chem. Phys., 11, 421-437, doi:10.5194/acpd-10-20769-2010. PDF

Yang, M., B. J. Huebert, B. W. Blomquist, S. G. Howell, L. M. Shank, C. S. McNaughton, A. D. Clarke, L. N. Hawkins, L. M. Russell, D. S. Covert, D. J. Coffman, T. S. Bates, P. K. Quinn, N. Zagorac, A. R. Bandy, S. P. de Szoeke, P. D. Zuidema, S. C. Tucker, W. A. Brewer, K. B. Benedict, and J. L. Collett, 2011: Atmospheric sulfur cycling in the Southeastern Pacific – longitudinal distribution, vertical profile, and diel variability observed during VOCALS-REx. Atmos. Chem. Phys., 11, 5079-5097. PDF

Small, R. J., S.-P. Xie, E. D. Maloney, S. P. de Szoeke, and Toru Miyama, 2011: Intraseasonal variability in the far-east Pacific: Investigation of the role of air-sea coupling in a regional coupled model. Climate Dyn., 1-24, 10.1007/s00382-010-0786-2. PDF

Wang, S., L. W. O'Neill, Q. Jiang, S. P. de Szoeke, X. Hong, H. Jin, W. T. Thompson, and X. Zheng, 2010: A regional real-time forecast of marine boundary layers during VOCALS-REx., Atmos. Chem. Phys., 11, 421-437. PDF


de Szoeke, S. P., C. W. Fairall, P. Zuidema, D. E. Wolfe, and L. Bariteau, 2010: Surface flux observations on the southeastern tropical Pacific Ocean and attribution of SST errors in coupled ocean-atmosphere models. J. Climate, 23, 4152-4174. PDF

Brunke, M. A., S. P. de Szoeke, P. Zuidema, and X. Zeng, 2010: A comparison of ship and satellite measurements of cloud properties with global climate model simulations in the southeast Pacific stratus deck. Atmos. Chem. Phys., 10, 6527-6536, 10.5194/acp-10-6527-2010. PDF


Zuidema, P., D. Painemal, S. P. de Szoeke, and C. W. Fairall, 2009: Stratocumulus cloud top height estimates and their climatic implications. J. Climate, 22, 4652-4666. PDF

de Szoeke, S. P., C. W. Fairall, S. Pezoa, 2009: Ship observations of the tropical Pacific Ocean along the coast of South America. J. Climate, 21, doi: 10.1175/2008JCLI2555.1. PDF


Garay, M. J., S. P. de Szoeke, and C. M. Moroney, 2008: Comparison of marine stratocumulus cloud top heights in the southeastern Pacific retrieved from satellites with coincident ship-based observations. J. Geophys. Res., 113, doi:10.1029/2008JD009975. PDF Supplement

de Szoeke, S. P. and S.-P. Xie, 2008: The tropical eastern Pacific seasonal cycle: Assessment of errors and mechanisms in IPCC AR4 coupled ocean-atmosphere general circulation models. J. Climate, 21, 11, 2573-2590. PDF


Small, R. J., S. P. de Szoeke, S. P. Xie, L. O'Neill, H. Seo, Q. Song, P. Cornillon, M. Spall, and S. Minobe, 2007: Air-sea interaction over ocean fronts and eddies. Dynam. Ocean. Atmos., 45, 274-319, doi:10.1016/j.dynatmoce.2008.01.001. PDF

Small, R. J. O., S. P. de Szoeke, and S.-P. Xie, 2007: The Central American mid-summer drought: regional aspects and large scale forcing. J. Climate, 20, 4853-4873. PDF

de Szoeke, S. P., S.-P. Xie, T. Miyama, K. J. Richards, and R. J. O. Small, 2007: What maintains the SST front north of the equatorial cold tongue? J. Climate, 20, 2500–2514. PDF


de Szoeke, S. P., Y. Wang, S.-P. Xie, and T. Miyama, 2006: The effect of shallow cumulus convection in a coupled regional ocean-atmosphere model. Geophys. Res. Lett., 33, L17713, doi:10.1029/2006GL026715. PDF

Xie, S.-P., T. Miyama, Y. Wang, H. Xu, S. P. de Szoeke, R.J. Small, K.J. Richards, T. Mochizuki, and T. Awaji, 2006: A regional ocean-atmosphere model for eastern Pacific climate: Towards reducing tropical biases. J. Climate, 20, 1504-1522. PDF


de Szoeke, S. P. and C. S. Bretherton, 2005: Variability in the southerly flow into the eastern Pacific ITCZ. J. Atmos. Sci., 62, 4400-4411. PDF

de Szoeke, S. P., C. S. Bretherton, N. A. Bond, M. F. Cronin, and B. M. Morley, 2005: EPIC 95˚W observations of the eastern Pacific atmospheric boundary layer. J. Atmos. Sci., 62, 426-442. PDF


de Szoeke, S. P. and C. S. Bretherton, 2004: Quasi-Lagrangian large eddy simulations of cross-equatorial flow in the east Pacific atmospheric boundary layer. J. Atmos. Sci., 61, 15, 1837-1858. PDF


Widmayer, C. C., D. Milam, and S. P. de Szoeke, 1997: Nonlinear formation of holographic images of obscurations in laser beams. Applied Optics., 36, 36, 9342-9347. PDF

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