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

COMMUNITY WHITE PAPER10.5270/OceanObs09.cwp.20

Monitoring Ocean - Atmosphere Interactions in Western Boundary Current Extensions

Meghan F. Cronin(1), Nicholas Bond(2), James Booth(3), Hiroshi Ichikawa(4), Terrence M. Joyce(5), Kathryn Kelly(6), Masahisa Kubota(7), Bo Qiu(8), Chris Reason(9), Mathieu Rouault(9), Chris Sabine(1), Toshiro Saino(4), Justin Small(10), Toshio Suga(11), Lynne D. Talley(12), LuAnne Thompson(3), Robert A. Weller(13)

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Western boundary currents as they extend eastward into the ocean basin (referred to here as WBCEs) are regions of intense air-sea interaction, where the ocean loses heat and moisture to the atmosphere and absorbs carbon dioxide. Air-sea interactions in WBCEs can affect weather and climate both locally and remotely, on time scales of days to decades. Thus, significant societal benefit can be achieved by improving their representation in numerical models of the atmosphere and ocean. To this end, WBCE data are needed for assimilation into numerical models, for assessment of model realism, and for analyses of climate processes. WBCE include the Kuroshio Extension in the North Pacific, the Gulf Stream in the North Atlantic, the Agulhas Return Current in the South Indian Ocean, the East Australian Current in the South Pacific, and the Brazil-Malvinas Confluence in the South Atlantic. The open-ocean strong currents, sharp fronts, and energetic synoptic variability make WBCEs challenging regions to observe, but existing technology will allow comprehensive sustained observations of these important regions. While our primary focus is on monitoring ocean-atmosphere interactions and ocean ventilation related to heat and freshwater exchanges, these depend upon the location of the current, depth of temperature anomalies (heat content), and the three-dimensional circulation, features that also can affect the distribution of biogeochemical properties. The observing system strategy developed here thus attempts to provide a coordinated system that would act as a framework for multidisciplinary observations.

1NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, 7600 Sandpoint Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115, USA
2Joint Institute for the Study of Atmosphere and Ocean, University of Washington, 7600 Sand Point Way, NE Seattle, WA 98115 USA
3University of Washington, 1013 NE 40th St, Seattle, WA 98195-7940, U.S.A.
4Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, 2-15 Natsushima, Yokosuka, Kanagawa, 237-0061, Japan.
5Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 266 Woods Hole Road, Woods Hole, MA 02543, USA
6Applied Physics Laboratory, University of Washington, 1013 N.E. 40th St., Seattle, WA 98105, USA
7Tokai University, 3-20-1, Orido, Shimizu, Shizuoka, 424-8610, Japan
8University of Hawaii, 1000 Pope Road, MSB 317 96822 Honolulu, Hawaii USA
9University of Cape Town, Private Bag X3, Rondebosch 7701, South Africa
10Naval Research Laboratory, Stennis Space Center, Building 1009, Stennis Space Center, MS 39529 USA
11Tohoku University, Aoba-ku, Kawauchi, Sendai, 980-77i, Japan
12Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093
13Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Clark 202A, MS#29, Woods Hole, MA 02543, USA

Correspondence should be addressed to E-mail: Meghan.F.Cronin@noaa.gov

This paper shall be cited as:

Cronin, M. & Co-Authors (2010). "Monitoring Ocean - Atmosphere Interactions in Western Boundary Current Extensions" 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.20

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