Cronin, M. F., Gentemann, C. L., Edson, J., Ueki, I., Bourassa, M., Brown, S., et al. (2019). Air-Sea Fluxes With a Focus on Heat and Momentum.
Front. Mar. Sci., 6.
Abstract: 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 for 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° box. 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.
Gentemann, C. L., Clayson, C. A., Brown, S., Lee, T., Parfitt, R., Farrar, J. T., et al. (2020). FluxSat: Measuring the Ocean-Atmosphere Turbulent Exchange of Heat and Moisture from Space.
Remote Sensing, 12(11), 1796.
Abstract: Recent results using wind and sea surface temperature data from satellites and high-resolution coupled models suggest that mesoscale ocean-atmosphere interactions affect the locations and evolution of storms and seasonal precipitation over continental regions such as the western US and Europe. The processes responsible for this coupling are difficult to verify due to the paucity of accurate air-sea turbulent heat and moisture flux data. These fluxes are currently derived by combining satellite measurements that are not coincident and have differing and relatively low spatial resolutions, introducing sampling errors that are largest in regions with high spatial and temporal variability. Observational errors related to sensor design also contribute to increased uncertainty. Leveraging recent advances in sensor technology, we here describe a satellite mission concept, FluxSat, that aims to simultaneously measure all variables necessary for accurate estimation of ocean-atmosphere turbulent heat and moisture fluxes and capture the effect of oceanic mesoscale forcing. Sensor design is expected to reduce observational errors of the latent and sensible heat fluxes by almost 50%. FluxSat will improve the accuracy of the fluxes at spatial scales critical to understanding the coupled ocean-atmosphere boundary layer system, providing measurements needed to improve weather forecasts and climate model simulations.
Rodríguez, E., Bourassa, M., Chelton, D., Farrar, J. T., Long, D., Perkovic-Martin, D., et al. (2019). The Winds and Currents Mission Concept.
Front. Mar. Sci., 6.
Abstract: The Winds and Currents Mission (WaCM) is a proposed approach to meet the need identified by the NRC Decadal Survey for the simultaneous measurements of ocean vector winds and currents. WaCM features a Ka-band pencil-beam Doppler scatterometer able to map ocean winds and currents globally. We review the principles behind the WaCM measurement and the requirements driving the mission. We then present an overview of the WaCM observatory and tie its capabilities to other OceanObs reviews and measurement approaches.
Savage, A. C., Arbic, B. K., Alford, M. H., Ansong, J. K., Farrar, J. T., Menemenlis, D., et al. (2017). Spectral decomposition of internal gravity wave sea surface height in global models.
J. Geophys. Res. Oceans, 122(10), 7803–7821.
Savage, A. C., Arbic, B. K., Alford, M. H., Ansong, J. K., Farrar, J. T., Menemenlis, D., et al. (2017). Spectral decomposition of internal gravity wave sea surface height in global models: INTERNAL GRAVITY WAVE SEA SURFACE HEIGHT.
J. Geophys. Res. Oceans, 122(10), 7803–7821.
Abstract: Two global ocean models ranging in horizontal resolution from 1/128 to 1/488 are used to study the space and time scales of sea surface height (SSH) signals associated with internal gravity waves (IGWs). Frequency-horizontal wavenumber SSH spectral densities are computed over seven regions of the world ocean from two simulations of the HYbrid Coordinate Ocean Model (HYCOM) and three simulations of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology general circulation model (MITgcm). High wavenumber, high-frequency SSH variance follows the predicted IGW linear dispersion curves. The realism of high-frequency motions (>0:87 cpd) in the models is tested through comparison of the frequency spectral density of dynamic height variance computed from the highest-resolution runs of each model (1/258 HYCOM and 1/488 MITgcm) with dynamic height variance frequency spectral density computed from nine in situ profiling instruments. These high-frequency motions are of particular interest because of their contributions to the small-scale SSH variability that will be observed on a global scale in the upcoming Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) satellite altimetry mission. The variance at supertidal frequencies can be comparable to the tidal and low-frequency variance for high wavenumbers (length scales smaller than 50 km), especially in the higher-resolution simulations. In the highest-resolution simulations, the high-frequency variance can be greater than the low-frequency variance at these scales.
Villas Bôas, A. B., Ardhuin, F., Ayet, A., Bourassa, M. A., Brandt, P., Chapron, B., et al. (2019). Integrated Observations of Global Surface Winds, Currents, and Waves: Requirements and Challenges for the Next Decade.
Front. Mar. Sci., 6.
Abstract: Ocean surface winds, currents, and waves play a crucial role in exchanges of momentum, energy, heat, freshwater, gases, and other tracers between the ocean, atmosphere, and ice. Despite surface waves being strongly coupled to the upper ocean circulation and the overlying atmosphere, efforts to improve ocean, atmospheric, and wave observations and models have evolved somewhat independently. From an observational point of view, community efforts to bridge this gap have led to proposals for satellite Doppler oceanography mission concepts, which could provide unprecedented measurements of absolute surface velocity and directional wave spectrum at global scales. This paper reviews the present state of observations of surface winds, currents, and waves, and it outlines observational gaps that limit our current understanding of coupled processes that happen at the air-sea-ice interface. A significant challenge for the coming decade of wind, current, and wave observations will come in combining and interpreting measurements from (a) wave-buoys and high-frequency radars in coastal regions, (b) surface drifters and wave-enabled drifters in the open-ocean, marginal ice zones, and wave-current interaction �hot-spots,� and (c) simultaneous measurements of absolute surface currents, ocean surface wind vector, and directional wave spectrum from Doppler satellite sensors.
Wentz, F. J., Ricciardulli, L., Rodriguez, E., Stiles, B. W., Bourassa, M. A., Long, D. G., et al. (2017). Evaluating and Extending the Ocean Wind Climate Data Record.
IEEE J Sel Top Appl Earth Obs Remote Sens, 10(5), 2165–2185.
Abstract: Satellite microwave sensors, both active scatterometers and passive radiometers, have been systematically measuring near-surface ocean winds for nearly 40 years, establishing an important legacy in studying and monitoring weather and climate variability. As an aid to such activities, the various wind datasets are being intercalibrated and merged into consistent climate data records (CDRs). The ocean wind CDRs (OW-CDRs) are evaluated by comparisons with ocean buoys and intercomparisons among the different satellite sensors and among the different data providers. Extending the OW-CDR into the future requires exploiting all available datasets, such as OSCAT-2 scheduled to launch in July 2016. Three planned methods of calibrating the OSCAT-2 sigmao measurements include 1) direct Ku-band sigmao intercalibration to QuikSCAT and RapidScat; 2) multisensor wind speed intercalibration; and 3) calibration to stable rainforest targets. Unfortunately, RapidScat failed in August 2016 and cannot be used to directly calibrate OSCAT-2. A particular future continuity concern is the absence of scheduled new or continuation radiometer missions capable of measuring wind speed. Specialized model assimilations provide 30-year long high temporal/spatial resolution wind vector grids that composite the satellite wind information from OW-CDRs of multiple satellites viewing the Earth at different local times.