12th Conference on Interactions of the Sea and Atmosphere


Heat budget of the California Current from satellite and in situ observations

Kathleen A. Edwards, APL, Seattle, WA; and K. A. Kelly

The California Current is a biologically and climatologically important site of strong air-sea exchanges of heat, moisture, and momentum. We test a simple heat budget for the region using satellite-derived heat fluxes and winds. The 2D upper-ocean balance assumes that heat gained from the atmosphere by cold upwelled waters is exported offshore via Ekman transport and eddies of the California Current. Heat content change is estimated from oceanic temperature profiles taken by volunteer observer ships between San Francisco and Hawaii. The Ekman transport is derived from QuikSCAT alongshore wind stress. The final term, the cross-shore eddy heat flux, is estimated as the component of the residual that is correlated with surface height anomalies from the TOPEX/POSEIDON altimeter. The ability of the Goddard Satellite-Based Surface Turbulent Fluxes, GSSTF-2, to close the balance is compared to that of the COARE bulk flux algorithm applied to NCEP surface fields. Future comparisons will include HOAPS (Hamburg Ocean Atmosphere Parameters and Fluxes from Satellite Data) and J-OFURU. The study has two goals: first, to identify the dominant processes determining the seasonal heat content of the California Current and second, to assess the performance of newly-available satellite surface flux products against that of a widely-used bulk flux algorithm and surface fields.

Session 5, Observations of air-sea interaction (in situ and satellite)
Tuesday, 11 February 2003, 11:00 AM-2:43 PM

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