Research Vessel Surface Meteorology Data Center


National Oceanography Center, Southampton (formerly Southampton Oceanography Centre) surface flux climatology (Version 1.1)

Simon A. Josey, Elizabeth C. Kent, Peter K. Taylor (September 1997; web text updated August 2007)


This directory contains climatological monthly mean files of air-sea fluxes on a global grid in netCDF format produced at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton (NOCS).

The fields have been derived from the COADS1a (1980-93) dataset enhanced with additional metadata from the WMO47 list of ships.

It is important to note that the quality of the fields has a strong spatial dependence which reflects the global distribution of ship observations. Quality is likely to be high in the well sampled North Atlantic & North Pacific but to decrease in the Southern Hemisphere. In particular, south of 40 S the errors in the fields are likely to be large and we recognize the existence of spurious features which have been generated during the objective analysis of the original raw fields. We stress that caution must be taken when interpreting the fields in this region.

In addition, note that version 1.1 of the fields does not give closure of the global heat budget, the imbalance being a global mean net heat gain by the ocean of 29 W/m^2. Results from several regional comparisons against high quality meteorological buoy data indicate that in those regions for which comparisons have been possible the soc net heat flux estimates agree well with independent buoy measurements. Hence, global adjustments are not applied in version 1.1 to the heat flux components in order to balance the heat budget. An updated version 1.1a is available from NOCS and includes techniques to close the global heat budget.

The fields are freely available by ftp to interested users for non-commercial scientific research; use of the fields should be acknowledged in publications arising from the research. We encourage users to inform us by email if they transfer the files giving a contact address and a short summary of research interest. By doing this we will be able to inform you of future modifications/updates to the fields. For this purpose and for general queries contact:

For further information on the climatology or to access version 1.1a see:

Josey,S.A., E.C.Kent, D.Oakley and P.K.Taylor, 1996: A new global air - sea heat and momentum flux climatology. International WOCE Newsletter, 24, 3 - 5.

Josey, S. A., E. C. Kent and P. K. Taylor, 1998: The Southampton Oceanography Centre (soc) Oceaa-Atmosphere Heat, Momentum and Freshwater Flux Atlas. Southampton Oceanography Centre Rep. 6, Southampton, UK, 30pp + figs.

Josey, S. A., E. C. Kent and P. K. Taylor, 1999 : New insights into the ocean heat budget closure problem from analysis of the soc air-sea flux climatology. Journal of Climate, 12, 2856-2880.

Funding has been received from the Hadley Centre, UK Meteorological Office for the production and analysis of this dataset.

Thanks to Peter Gleckler, LLNI for preparation of this netCDF version.

From this interface, you can download the individual files:   Latent Heat Flux   Net Heat Flux   Sensible Heat Flux   Precipitation   Net Longwave Flux   Net Shortwave Flux   Wind Stress (eastward)   Wind Stress (northward)

Each file contains 12 climatological monthly means on a global 1 x 1 grid for a particular flux field.

E-Mail Simon Josey with your questions or comments.

Contact: Webmaster
Copyright © COAPS