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2018 JCR, Web of Science Group 2019

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

Front. Mar. Sci. | doi: 10.3389/fmars.2019.00430

Air-sea fluxes with a focus on heat and momentum

  • 1Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (NOAA), United States
  • 2Earth and Space Research, United States
  • 3Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, United States
  • 4Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, Japan
  • 5Florida State University, United States
  • 6NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), United States
  • 7Earth System Research Laboratory (NOAA), United States
  • 8Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, United States
  • 9P.P. Shirshov Institute of Oceanology (RAS), Russia
  • 10National Oceanography Centre, University of Southampton, United Kingdom
  • 11Langley Research Center, United States
  • 12Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), South Africa
  • 13Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, University of Miami, United States
  • 14University of Maryland, College Park, United States
  • 15University of Gothenburg, Sweden
  • 16Institute for Space-Earth Environmental Research, Nagoya University, Japan
  • 17University of New Hampshire, United States
  • 18Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Oceans, University of Washington, United States

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.

Keywords: Air-sea heat flux, Latent heat flux, surface radiation, ocean wind stress, Autonomous surface vehicle, OceanSites, ICOADS, Satellite-based ocean monitoring system

Received: 03 Nov 2018; Accepted: 05 Jul 2019.

Edited by:

Sabrina Speich, École Normale Supérieure, France

Reviewed by:

William Asher, University of Washington, United States
Peter Sutherland, UMR6523 Laboratoire d'Oceanographie Physique et Spatiale (LOPS), France
Peter Sullivan, National Center for Atmospheric Research (UCAR), United States  

Copyright: © 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. 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. Meghan F. Cronin, Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (NOAA), Seattle, United States,