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.
Freeman, E., Kent, E. C., Brohan, P., Cram, T., Gates, L., Huang, B., et al. (2019). The International Comprehensive Ocean-Atmosphere Data Set – Meeting Users Needs and Future Priorities.
Front. Mar. Sci., 6, 435.
Abstract: The International Comprehensive Ocean-Atmosphere Data Set (ICOADS) is a collection and archive of in situ marine observations, which has been developed over several decades as an international project and recently guided by formal international partnerships and the ICOADS Steering Committee. ICOADS contains observations from many different observing systems encompassing the evolution of measurement technology since the 18th century. ICOADS provides an integrated source of observations for a range of applications including research and climate monitoring, and forms the main marine in situ surface data source, e.g., near-surface ocean observations and lower atmospheric marine-meteorological observations from buoys, ships, coastal stations, and oceanographic sensors, for oceanic and atmospheric research and reanalysis. ICOADS has developed ways to incorporate user and reanalyses feedback information associated with permanent unique identifiers and is also the main repository for data that have been rescued from ships’ logbooks and other marine data digitization activities. ICOADS has been adopted widely because it provides convenient access to a range of observation types, globally, and through the entire marine instrumental record. ICOADS has provided a secure home for such observations for decades. Because of the increased volume of observations, particularly those available in near-real-time, and an expansion of their diversity, the ICOADS processing system now requires extensive modernization. Based on user feedback, we will outline the improvements that are required, the challenges to their implementation, and the benefits of upgrading this important and diverse marine archive and distribution activity.
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.
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.
Stukel, M. R., Ohman, M. D., Kelly, T. B., & Biard, T. (2019). The Roles of Suspension-Feeding and Flux-Feeding Zooplankton as Gatekeepers of Particle Flux Into the Mesopelagic Ocean in the Northeast Pacific.
Front. Mar. Sci., 6.
Abstract: Zooplankton are important consumers of sinking particles in the ocean's twilight zone. However, the impact of different taxa depends on their feeding mode. In contrast to typical suspension-feeding zooplankton, flux-feeding taxa preferentially consume rapidly sinking particles that would otherwise penetrate into the deep ocean. To quantify the potential impact of two flux-feeding zooplankton taxa [Aulosphaeridae (Rhizaria), and Limacina helicina (euthecosome pteropod)] and the total suspension-feeding zooplankton community, we measured depth-stratified abundances of these organisms during six cruises in the California Current Ecosystem. Using allometric-scaling relationships, we computed the percentage of carbon flux intercepted by flux feeders and suspension feeders. These estimates were compared to direct measurements of carbon flux attenuation (CFA) made using drifting sediment traps and U-238-Th-234 disequilibrium. We found that CFA in the shallow twilight zone typically ranged from 500 to 1000 m mol organic C flux remineralized per 10-m vertical depth bin. This equated to approximately 6-10% of carbon flux remineralized/10 m. The two flux-feeding taxa considered in this study could account for a substantial proportion of this flux near the base of the euphotic zone. The mean flux attenuation attributable to Aulosphaeridae was 0.69%/10 m (median = 0.21%/10 m, interquartile range = 0.04-0.81%) at their depth of maximum abundance (similar to 100 m), which would equate to similar to 10% of total flux attenuation in this depth range. The maximum flux attenuation attributable to Aulosphaeridae reached 4.2%/10 m when these protists were most abundant. L. helicina, meanwhile, could intercept 0.45-1.6% of carbon flux/10 m, which was slightly greater (on average) than the Aulosphaeridae. In contrast, suspension-feeding zooplankton in the mesopelagic (including copepods, euphausiids, appendicularians, and ostracods) had combined clearance rates of 2-81 L m(-3) day(-1) (mean of 19.6 L m(-3) day(-1)). This implies a substantial impact on slowly sinking particles, but a negligible impact on the presumably rapidly sinking fecal pellets that comprised the majority of the material collected in sediment traps. Our results highlight the need for a greater research focus on the many taxa that potentially act as flux feeders in the oceanic twilight zone.
Armstrong, E. M., Bourassa, M. A., Cram, T. A., DeBellis, M., Elya, J., Greguska III, F. R., et al. (2019). An Integrated Data Analytics Platform.
Front. Mar. Sci., 6, 354.
Abstract: An Integrated Science Data Analytics Platform is an environment that enables the confluence of resources for scientific investigation. It harmonizes data, tools and computational resources to enable the research community to focus on the investigation rather than spending time on security, data preparation, management, etc. OceanWorks is a NASA technology integration project to establish a cloud-based Integrated Ocean Science Data Analytics Platform for big ocean science at NASA’s Physical Oceanography Distributed Active Archive Center (PO.DAAC) for big ocean science. It focuses on advancement and maturity by bringing together several NASA open-source, big data projects for parallel analytics, anomaly detection, in situ to satellite data matchup, quality-screened data subsetting, search relevancy, and data discovery. Our communities are relying on data available through distributed data centers to conduct their research. In typical investigations, scientists would (1) search for data, (2) evaluate the relevance of that data, (3) download it, and (4) then apply algorithms to identify trends, anomalies, or other attributes of the data. Such a workflow cannot scale if the research involves a massive amount of data or multi-variate measurements. With the upcoming NASA Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) mission expected to produce over 20PB of observational data during its 3-year nominal mission, the volume of data will challenge all existing Earth Science data archival, distribution and analysis paradigms. This paper discusses how OceanWorks enhances the analysis of physical ocean data where the computation is done on an elastic cloud platform next to the archive to deliver fast, web-accessible services for working with oceanographic measurements.
Fox-Kemper, B., Adcroft, A., Böning, C. W., Chassignet, E. P., Curchitser, E., Danabasoglu, G., et al. (2019). Challenges and Prospects in Ocean Circulation Models.
Front. Mar. Sci., 6.
Abstract: We revisit the challenges and prospects for ocean circulation models following Griffies et al. (2010). Over the past decade, ocean circulation models evolved through improved understanding, numerics, spatial discretization, grid configurations, parameterizations, data assimilation, environmental monitoring, and process-level observations and modeling. Important large scale applications over the last decade are simulations of the Southern Ocean, the Meridional Overturning Circulation and its variability, and regional sea level change. Submesoscale variability is now routinely resolved in process models and permitted in a few global models, and submesoscale effects are parameterized in most global models. The scales where nonhydrostatic effects become important are beginning to be resolved in regional and process models. Coupling to sea ice, ice shelves, and high-resolution atmospheric models has stimulated new ideas and driven improvements in numerics. Observations have provided insight into turbulence and mixing around the globe and its consequences are assessed through perturbed physics models. Relatedly, parameterizations of the mixing and overturning processes in boundary layers and the ocean interior have improved. New diagnostics being used for evaluating models alongside present and novel observations are briefly referenced. The overall goal is summarizing new developments in ocean modeling, including how new and existing observations can be used, what modeling challenges remain, and how simulations can be used to support observations.
Morey, S. L., Wienders, N., Dukhovskoy, D. S., & Bourassa, M. A. (2018). Impact of Stokes Drift on Measurements of Surface Currents from Drifters and HF Radar. In
American Geophysical Union (Vol. Fall Meeting).
Abstract: Concurrent measurements by surface drifters of different configurations and HF radar reveal substantial differences in estimates of the near-surface seawater velocity. On average, speeds of small ultra-thin (5 cm) drifters are significantly greater than co-located drifters with a traditional shallow drogue design, while velocity measurements from the drogued drifters closely match HF radar velocity estimates. Analysis of directional wave spectra measurements from a nearby buoy reveals that Stokes drift accounts for much of the difference between the velocity measurements from the drogued drifters and the ultra-thin drifters, except during times of wave breaking. Under wave breaking conditions, the difference between the ultra-thin drifter velocity and the drogued drifter velocity is much less than the computed Stokes drift. The results suggest that surface currents measured by more common approaches or simulated in models may underrepresent the velocity at the very surface of the ocean that is important for determining momentum and enthalpy fluxes between the ocean and atmosphere and for estimating transport of material at the ocean surface. However, simply adding an estimate of Stokes drift may also not be an appropriate method for estimating the true surface velocity from models or measurements from drogued drifters or HF radar under all sea conditions.
Armstrong, E. M., Bourassa, M. A., Cram, T., Elya, J. L., Greguska, F. R., III, Huang, T., et al. (2018). An information technology foundation for fostering interdisciplinary oceanographic research and analysis. In
American Geophysical Union (Vol. Fall Meeting).
Abstract: Before complex analysis of oceanographic or any earth science data can occur, it must be placed in the proper domain of computing and software resources. In the past this was nearly always the scientist's personal computer or institutional computer servers. The problem with this approach is that it is necessary to bring the data products directly to these compute resources leading to large data transfers and storage requirements especially for high volume satellite or model datasets. In this presentation we will present a new technological solution under development and implementation at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory for conducting oceanographic and related research based on satellite data and other sources. Fundamentally, our approach for satellite resources is to tile (partition) the data inputs into cloud-optimized and computation friendly databases that allow distributed computing resources to perform on demand and server-side computation and data analytics. This technology, known as NEXUS, has already been implemented in several existing NASA data portals to support oceanographic, sea-level, and gravity data time series analysis with capabilities to output time-average maps, correlation maps, Hovmöller plots, climatological averages and more. A further extension of this technology will integrate ocean in situ observations, event-based data discovery (e.g., natural disasters), data quality screening and additional capabilities. This particular activity is an open source project known as the Apache Science Data Analytics Platform (SDAP) (https://sdap.apache.org), and colloquially as OceanWorks, and is funded by the NASA AIST program. It harmonizes data, tools and computational resources for the researcher allowing them to focus on research results and hypothesis testing, and not be concerned with security, data preparation and management. We will present a few oceanographic and interdisciplinary use cases demonstrating the capabilities for characterizing regional sea-level rise, sea surface temperature anomalies, and ocean hurricane responses.