Smith, S. R., Alory, G., Andersson, A., Asher, W., Baker, A., Berry, D. I., et al. (2019). Ship-Based Contributions to Global Ocean, Weather, and Climate Observing Systems.
Front. Mar. Sci., 6, 434.
Abstract: The role ships play in atmospheric, oceanic, and biogeochemical observations is described with a focus on measurements made near the ocean surface. Ships include merchant and research vessels; cruise liners and ferries; fishing vessels; coast guard, military, and other government-operated ships; yachts; and a growing fleet of automated surface vessels. The present capabilities of ships to measure essential climate/ocean variables and the requirements from a broad community to address operational, commercial, and scientific needs are described. The authors provide a vision to expand observations needed from ships to understand and forecast the exchanges across the ocean–atmosphere interface. The vision addresses (1) recruiting vessels to improve both spatial and temporal sampling, (2) conducting multivariate sampling on ships, (3) raising technology readiness levels of automated shipboard sensors and ship-to-shore data communications, (4) advancing quality evaluation of observations, and (5) developing a unified data management approach for observations and metadata that meet the needs of a diverse user community. Recommendations are made focusing on integrating private and autonomous vessels into the observing system, investing in sensor and communications technology development, developing an integrated data management structure that includes all types of ships, and moving toward a quality evaluation process that will result in a subset of ships being defined as mobile reference ships that will support climate studies. We envision a future where commercial, research, and privately owned vessels are making multivariate observations using a combination of automated and human-observed measurements. All data and metadata will be documented, tracked, evaluated, distributed, and archived to benefit users of marine data. This vision looks at ships as a holistic network, not a set of disparate commercial, research, and/or third-party activities working in isolation, to bring these communities together for the mutual benefit of all.
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.