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Air-sea fluxes with a focus on heat and momentum

Journal article
Authors Meghan F. Cronin
Chelle L. Gentemann
James B. Edson
Iwao Ueki
Mark Bourassa
Shannon Brown
Carol A. Clayson
Chris Fairall
J. T. Farrar
Sarah T. Gille
Sergey Gulev
Simon Josey
Sieji Kato
Masaki Katsumata
Elizabeth C. Kent
Marjolaine Krug
Peter J. Minnett
Rhys Parfitt
Rachel T. Pinker
Paul W. Stackhouse
Sebastiaan Swart
Hiroyuki Tomita
Doug Vandemark
Robert A. Weller
Kunio Yoneyama
Lisan Yu
Dongxiao Zhang
Published in Frontiers in Marine Science
Volume 6
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of marine sciences
Language en
Keywords Air-sea heat flux, Autonomous surface vehicle, ICOADS, Latent heat flux, Ocean wind stress, OceanSites, Satellite-based ocean monitoring system, Surface radiation
Subject categories Oceanography


© 2019 Cronin, Gentemann, Edson, Ueki, Bourassa, Brown, Clayson, Fairall, Farrar, Gille, Gulev, Josey, Kato, Katsumata, Kent, Krug, Minnett, Parfitt, Pinker, Stackhouse, Swart, Tomita, Vandemark, Weller, Yoneyama, Yu and Zhang. Turbulent and radiative exchanges of heat between the ocean and atmosphere (hereafter heat fluxes), ocean surface wind stress, and state variables used to estimate them, are Essential Ocean Variables (EOVs) and Essential Climate Variables (ECVs) influencing weather and climate. This paper describes an observational strategy for producing 3-hourly, 25-km (and an aspirational goal of hourly at 10-km) heat flux and wind stress fields over the global, ice-free ocean with breakthrough 1-day random uncertainty of 15 W m-2 and a bias of less than 5 W m-2. At present this accuracy target is met only at OceanSITES reference station moorings and research vessels (RVs) that follow best practices. To meet these targets globally, in the next decade, satellite-based observations must be optimized for boundary layer measurements of air temperature, humidity, sea surface temperature, and ocean wind stress. In order to tune and validate these satellite measurements, a complementary global in situ flux array, built around an expanded OceanSITES network of time series reference station moorings, is also needed. The array would include 500 - 1000 measurement platforms, including autonomous surface vehicles, moored and drifting buoys, RVs, the existing OceanSITES network of 22 flux sites, and new OceanSITES expanded in 19 key regions. This array would be globally distributed, with 1 - 3 measurement platforms in each nominal 10° by 10° boxes. These improved moisture and temperature profiles and surface data, if assimilated into Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) models, would lead to better representation of cloud formation processes, improving state variables and surface radiative and turbulent fluxes from these models. The in situ flux array provides globally distributed measurements and metrics for satellite algorithm development, product validation, and for improving satellite-based, NWP and blended flux products. In addition, some of these flux platforms will also measure direct turbulent fluxes, which can be used to improve algorithms for computation of air-sea exchange of heat and momentum in flux products and models. With these improved air-sea fluxes, the ocean's influence on the atmosphere will be better quantified and lead to improved long-term weather forecasts, seasonal-interannual-decadal climate predictions, and regional climate projections.

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