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Review ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Mar. Sci. | doi: 10.3389/fmars.2019.00419

Global In-Situ Observations of Essential Climate and Ocean Variables at the Air-Sea Interface

  • 1Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, United States
  • 2Met Office, United Kingdom
  • 3Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (NOAA), United States
  • 4Bureau of Meteorology (Australia), Australia
  • 5Remote Sensing Solutions, United States
  • 6World Meteorological Organization, Switzerland
  • 7Ocean University of China, China
  • 8University of Leicester, United Kingdom
  • 9Earth and Space Research, United States
  • 10European Space Agency (ESA), France
  • 11Center for Satellite Applications and Research (STAR), NOAA, United States
  • 12European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, United Kingdom
  • 13Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC), United States
  • 14GEOMAR Helmholtz Center for Ocean Research Kiel, Germany
  • 15National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), United States
  • 16International Pacific Research Center, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology, University of Hawaii, United States
  • 17University of Reading, United Kingdom
  • 18Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, University of Miami, United States
  • 19European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites, Germany
  • 20Office of Naval Research, United Kingdom
  • 21Météo-France, France
  • 22Istituto Nazionale di Oceanografia e di Geofisica Sperimentale (OGS), Italy
  • 23UMR7159 Laboratoire d'océanographie et du climat expérimentations et approches numériques (LOCEAN), France
  • 24Environment and Climate Change Canada, Canada
  • 25National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), United States
  • 26Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, United States
  • 27National Marine Technology Center, China
  • 28Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (NOAA), United States

The air-sea interface is a key gateway in the Earth system. It is where the atmosphere sets the ocean in motion, climate/weather relevant air-sea processes occur and pollutants (i.e., plastic, anthropogenic carbon dioxide, radioactive/chemical waste) enter the sea. Hence, accurate estimates and forecasts of physical and biogeochemical processes at this interface are critical for sustainable blue economy planning, growth and disaster mitigation. Such estimates and forecasts rely on accurate and integrated in-situ and satellite surface observations. High-impact uses of ocean-surface observations of Essential Ocean/Climate Variables (EOVs /ECVs) include 1) assimilation into/validation of weather, ocean and climate forecast models to improve their skill, impact and value; 2) ocean physics studies (i.e., heat, momentum, freshwater and biogeochemical air-sea fluxes) to further our understanding and parameterization of air-sea processes; and 3) calibration and validation of satellite ocean products (i.e., currents, temperature, salinity, sea level, ocean color, wind, waves). We review strengths and limitations, impacts, and sustainability of in-situ ocean surface observations of several ECVs and EOVs. We draw a 10-year vision of the global ocean-surface observing network for improved synergy and integration with other observing systems (e.g., satellites), modeling/forecast efforts and for a better ocean observing governance. The context is both the applications listed above and the guidelines of frameworks such as IOC-WMO-UNEP-ICSU GOOS, GCOS, and WIGOS. Networks of multiparametric platforms, such as the global drifter array, offer opportunities for new and improved in-situ observations. Advances in sensor technology (e.g., low-cost wave sensors), high throughput communications, evolving cyberinfrastructures and data information systems with potential to improve the scope, efficiency, integration and sustainability of the ocean surface observing system are explored.

Keywords: global in situ observations, Air-sea interface, essential climate and ocean variables, Climate variability and change, Weather Forecasting

Received: 30 Oct 2018; Accepted: 05 Jul 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Centurioni, Turton, Lumpkin, Braasch, Brassington, Chao, Charpentier, Chen, Corlett, Dohan, Donlon, Gallage, Hormann, Ignatov, Ingleby, Jensen, Kelly-Gerreyn, Koszalka, Lin, Lindstrom, Maximenko, Merchant, Minnett, O'Carroll, Paluszkiewicz, Poli, Poulain, Reverdin, Sun, Swail, Thurston, Wu, Yu, Wang and Zhang. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Luca R. Centurioni, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, United States, lcenturioni@ucsd.edu