Surface and near-surface parameters of wind speed, temperature, and humidity will be derived from a combination of satellite observations, with a focus on the use of these variables towards determination of the air-sea turbulent heat fluxes. This research falls directly in line with the NOAA Climate Data Records focus on the Earth’s energy and water cycles.
Under the auspices of the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) Global Energy and Water Experiment (GEWEX) Data and Assessment Panel, the SeaFlux Project has been initiated to investigate producing a high-resolution satellite-based data set of of surface turbulent fluxes over the global oceans.
The Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) is the major fluctuation in tropical weather on weekly to monthly timescales. The MJO can be characterized as eastward intraseasonal oscillations of cloud and rainfall near the equator. It is established by large-scale changes in atmospheric circulation, convection, and thermodynamic processes that are said to have influences on monsoons, flooding, droughts, wildfires, and tropical storms. The significant impacts and potential predictability of the MJO have made it an ideal target for the modeling community as attempts are made to bridge the weather to climate continuum.
The Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) was launched on March 17, 2002 from the Russian Plesetsk Cosmodrome. The project, a joint effort between NASA and the German Center for Air and Space Flight, aims to produce 60 gravity maps of the Earth during its five year lifespan.
The cycling of energy and water has obvious and significant implications for the health and prosperity of society. The availability and quantity of water is vital to life on earth and helps to tie together the Earth’s lands, oceans and atmosphere into an integrated physical system. The global water cycle is driven by a multiplicity of complex processes and interactions at all time and space scales, many of which are inadequately understood and poorly represented in model predictions.
The warm, northward-flowing waters of the Kuroshio western boundary current leave the Japanese coast to flow eastward into the North Pacific as a free jet—the Kuroshio Extension. The Kuroshio Extension forms a vigorously meandering boundary between the warm subtropical and cold northern waters of the Pacific.
Work in the South China Sea is supported by the US Office of Naval Research program in physical oceanography. The study is part of a collaboration with numerous colleagues, most significantly Harper Simmons of the University of Alaska – Fairbanks and Yu-Huai Wang of National Sun Yat-Sen University.
The work described here is a collaboration with Dr. Andreas Thurnherr at the Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, Dr. Valerie Ballu of LIttoral ENvironnement et Societes, Dr. Gilles Reverdin of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Dr. Louis St. Laurent of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Physical Oceanography Department, Pascale Bouruet-Aubertot of LOCEAN
LADDER stands for LArval Dispersal on the Deep East Pacific Rise. It is an interdisciplinary research project investigating larval dispersal and physical oceanography at a mid-ocean ridge. The primary objective of the LADDER project is to investigate oceanographic and topographic influences on larval retention and dispersal in hydrothermal vent communities.
DIMES stands for Diapycnal and Isopycnal Mixing Experiment in the Southern Ocean. DIMES is a US/UK field program aimed at measuring diapycnal and isopycnal mixing in the southern Ocean, along the tilting isopycnals of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current.
The long-term goal of the Origins of the Kuroshio and Mindanao Currents (OKMC) work is to understand the ocean’s circulation in the bifurcation region of the Kuroshio and Mindanao Currents. The westward flowing North Equatorial Current runs into the Philippine coast and bifurcates into the northward Kuroshio and the southward Mindanao Current. The partitioning of the flow into the Kuroshio and Mindanao Currents is an important observable. Quantifying these flows and understanding bifurcation dynamics are essential to improving predictions of regional circulation, and to characterizing property transports that ultimately affect Pacific climate.
The Impacts of Typhoons on the Ocean in the Pacific (ITOP) program was a multi-national field campaign that aimed to study the ocean response to typhoons in the western Pacific Ocean. Observing the Evolution of Typhoon Wakes the transfer of heat from the ocean to the atmosphere is the primary driver of tropical cyclones. Viewed as a heat engine, a typhoon extracts heat energy from the warm ocean surface and exhausts it into the upper atmosphere where excess energy is radiated to space and transported toward higher latitudes.
IWISE stands for The Internal Waves in Straits Experiment. This program uses satellite data in support of the 2011 ONR IWISE field campaign over the Luzon Strait. This satellite data is part of a multi-year initiative to study the generation, propagation, and dissipation of internal tides in Luzon Strait. The satellite data is being collected primarily during an extensive field program conducted during the summer of 2011. This study is focused on the internal wave response in sea straits to tidal forcing.
Currently there is significant interest in the role of cold wakes in the overall ocean climate, including possible ocean heating due to the restratification of these wakes. The warming of the upper ocean associated with restratification may for instance be lost to the atmosphere during winter, with associated implications to the global transport of heat by the oceans.
The Salinity Processes in the Upper Ocean Regional Study (SPURS) Program was designed to examine those processes affecting the near-surface salinity. It was proposed as a 2-phase effort, with the first phase focusing on the salinity maximum of the North Atlantic during 2012 – 2013. The second phase, SPURS-2, is scheduled to take place early 2015 in the low-salinity region of the eastern tropical Pacific.
Upper Ocean Salinity Structure Variability
Satellite measurements of the sea surface salinity (SSS) data from ESA’s Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) satellite and NASA’s Aquarius satellite has the potential to transform our understanding of the number of scales of the Earth’s Water Cycle. To address the needs of the SSS community, a concerted data analysis approach combined with ocean modeling focused on understanding variability in the upper few meters of the ocean surface will provide insights. Our goal is to use the unprecedented coverage of SSS data offered by Aquarius in tandem with near-surface salinity measurements available from SPURS, in situ buoys and the Argo float program, and modeling analyses to better characterize and parameterize the surface salinity stratification with respect to atmospheric variability.
The oceans are driven by exchanges with the atmosphere across the air-sea interface. WHOI researchers are world leaders in making observations of the marine atmospheric boundary layer and ocean surface layer, using these and various other data and models to estimate air-sea fluxes. The X-Spar is a low-cost part buoy for air-sea flux measurements in remote, inhospitable regions of the ocean where bottom-anchored buoys are not feasible. It will be similar to the methodology used by WHOI Upper Ocean Processes Group, which uses a heavily-instrumented, bottom-anchored surface buoy mooring to derive estimates of wind, stress, sensible and latent heat exchange, precipitation and short- and long-wave radiation.
Recent decades have seen pronounced Arctic warming accompanied by significant reductions in sea-ice volume and a dramatic increase in summer open water area. The resulting combination of increased ice-free area and more mobile ice cover has led to dramatic shifts in the processes that govern atmosphere–ice–ocean interactions, with profound impacts on upper ocean structure and sea ice evolution. The summer sea ice retreat and resulting emergence of a seasonal marginal ice zone (MIZ) in the Beaufort Sea exemplifies these changes and provides an excellent laboratory for studying the underlying physics.
Air-Sea Interactions in the GEOS Model
In order to understand how the climate responds to variations in forcing, one necessary component is to understand the full distribution of variability of exchanges of heat and moisture between the atmosphere and ocean. A number of studies recognize the important role of surface heat and moisture fluxes in the generation and decay of important coupled air-sea phenomena. These mechanisms operate across a number of scales and contain significant contributions from interactions between the anomalous (i.e. non-mean), often extreme-valued, flux components. It is important to have a characterization and understanding of these processes for the development of accurate modeling efforts.
The existence of ocean fronts influences many aspects of the climate system, including ocean mixing, air-sea coupling, cloud and wind patterns, and marine productivity and biomass. A significant tool in evaluating and understanding the role of ocean fronts is satellite-derived sea surface temperature fields. This work addresses several questions regarding the coupled atmosphere/ocean system in the vicinity of sea surface temperature gradients.
Turbulent exchanges of heat and moisture across the atmosphere-ocean interface are critical elements of the Earth’s energy and water cycle. They are particularly important to the upper ocean mixed layer energy budget in conjunction with radiative and momentum fluxes. However satellite-derived turbulent fluxes require knowledge of multiple surface and near-surface ocean and atmospheric geophysical fields. These include sea surface temperature (and derived specific humidity), near-surface wind speed, air temperature and air specific humidity. Among these variables sea surface temperature and wind speed have dedicated science teams and/or international efforts — e.g. Group for High Resolution Sea Surface Temperature (GHRSST); NASA Ocean Vector Winds Science Team (OVWST) — focused on improving satellite retrieval of these quantities and developing long-term climate data records.