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Proceedings of OceanObs'09: Sustained Ocean Observations and Information for Society

COMMUNITY WHITE PAPER10.5270/OceanObs09.cwp.08

Remotely Sensed Winds and Wind Stresses for Marine Forecasting and Ocean Modeling

Mark A. Bourassa(1), Ad Stoffelen(2), Hans Bonekamp(3), Paul Chang(4), D. B. Chelton(5), Joe Courtney(6), Roger Edson(7), Jula Figa(3), Yijun He(8), Hans Hersbach(9), Kyle Hilburn(10), Z.orana Jelenak(4), Kathryn A. Kelly(11), Richard Knabb(12), Tong Lee(13), Eric J. Lindstrom(14), W. Timothy Liu(13), David G. Long(15), William Perrie(16), Marcos Portabella(17), Mark Powell(18), Ernesto Rodriguez(13), Deborah K. Smith(10), Val Swail(19), Frank J. Wentz(10)

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Ocean surface vector winds (OSVW) are used to estimate momentum transfer (surface stress) between the atmosphere and ocean, and are critically important for determining the large-scale ocean circulation and transport. Vector winds are needed to estimate the ageostrophic (Ekman) component of ocean currents, and consequently are linked to atmospheric and oceanographic upwelling and downwelling, coastal upwelling, primary productivity, cross shelf transport, ice transport, mixed layer evolution, and deep-water formation. Accurate wind speeds are also essential for reliable computations of air/sea heat fluxes (e.g. sensible and latent heat fluxes) as well as mass fluxes (e.g. CO2 and H2O), making surface winds critically important for budgeting energy, moisture and Carbon, and for studies of ocean acidification. Wind and wave information are essential for marine safety. The advection and offshore transport of nutrients and fresh water can be linked to the life cycle and annual variability in fish stocks. Both scalar and vector winds can be linked to upper ocean mixing, which is easily linked to ocean, atmospheric, cryospheric and terrestrial climate change. For shorter time scale applications, surface wind vectors are also used for forecasts of storm surge and waves. Ocean surface winds change rapidly in both time and space. Satellite-based sampling density and relatively good accuracy make satellite winds desirable data (particularly for regions with sparse in situ observations) for many related applications such as coastal upwelling, oceanic/atmospheric coupling associated with both tropical instability wave and ocean fronts [19], ocean currents [58], detection of tropical disturbances [35], wave forecasting, weather forecasting [46], and storm surge [79], to list a small sample of applications. Portions of the surface winds observing systems are also used to provide observations of sea ice extent and rainfall (fresh water flux). Several reviews of space-based wind measurements and applications have been published (e.g. [64 and 66]). The current ocean wind observing system can be further improved by means of better bias removal and calibration for very high and low wind speeds, increased temporal sampling (via a constellation), finer spatial resolution (e.g. on the ocean eddy scale and intercalibration of near-coastal winds), and improved methods of blending observations (scalar winds and vector winds) from multiple platforms.

1Center for Ocean-Atmospheric Prediction Studies, and Department of Meteorology, Florida State University, 2035 E. Paul Dirac Dr., 200 RM Johnson Bldg., Tallahassee, FL 32306-2840 USA
2KNMI (Koninklijk Nederlands Meteorologisch Instituut), Postbus 201, 3730 AE De Bilt, The Netherlands
3EUMETSAT (European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites), Eumetsat Allee 1, D-64295 Darmstadt, Germany
4NOAA/NESDIS (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service)/Center for Satellite Applications and Research, NOAA Science Center, Room 105, 5200 Auth Road, Camp Springs, MD 20746 USA
5College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences, Oregon State University, 104 COAS Administration Building, Corvallis, OR 97331-5503 USA
6Bureau of Meteorology, PO Box 1370, West Perth, WA 6872 Australia
7NOAA/NWS (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/National Weather Service), 3232 Hueneme Road, Barrigada, Guam 96913 USA
8Key Laboratory of Ocean Circulation and waves, Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 7 Nanhai road, Qingdao 266071, Shandong Province, P. R. China
9European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, Shinfield Park, RG2 9AX, Reading, United Kingdom
10Remote Sensing Systems, 438 First St., Santa Rosa, CA 95401 USA
11Applied Physics Laboratory, University of Washington, 1013 N.E. 40th St., Box 355640, Seattle, WA 98105, USA
12NOAA/NWS/PR (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/National Weather Service/Pacific Region), Honolulu Forecast Office, 2525 Correa Rd., Ste 250, Honolulu, HI 96822 USA
13NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration/Jet Propulsion Laboratory), California Institute of Technology, 4800 Oak Grove Dr., Pasadena, CA 91109 USA
14NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) Headquarters, Earth Science Division, Room 3D74, Science Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters, Mail Suite 3B74, 300 E Street SW, Washington DC 20546 USA,
15Brigham Young University, 459 Clyde Building, Provo, Utah 84602 USA
16Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Bedford Institute of Oceanography, 1 Challenger Drive, P.O. Box 1006, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, B2Y 4A2 Canada
17Unidad de Tecnologia Marina (UTM - CSIC (Marine Technology Unit - Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas/Spanish National Research Council), Pg. Maritim de la Barceloneta 37-49, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
18NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratories (NOAA/AOML), Hurricane Research Division, Center for Ocean-Atmospheric Prediction Studies (NOAA/HRD), Florida State University, 4301 Rickenbacker Causeway, Miami, FL 33149, USA; 2035 E. Paul Dirac Drive, Tallahassee, FL 32310 USA
19Environment Canada, 4905 Dufferin Street. Toronto, Ontario, M3H 5T4, Canada

Correspondence should be addressed to E-mail: bourassa@coaps.fsu.edu

This paper shall be cited as:

Bourassa, M. & Co-Authors (2010). "Remotely Sensed Winds and Wind Stresses for Marine Forecasting and Ocean Modeling" in Proceedings of OceanObs’09: Sustained Ocean Observations and Information for Society (Vol. 2), Venice, Italy, 21-25 September 2009, Hall, J., Harrison, D.E. & Stammer, D., Eds., ESA Publication WPP-306, doi:10.5270/OceanObs09.cwp.08

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