83rd Annual

Wednesday, 12 February 2003
Variability of skin - bulk sea surface temperature difference
Stephen Hallsworth, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Mid Lothian, United Kingdom
Satellites can retrieve the ocean skin-layer temperature with good spatial coverage. The skin layer (~1micrometre thick) determines latent and sensible heat fluxes between the ocean and the atmosphere. However, climate and weather prediction models, with the bulk skin difference already included in the flux parametersations, require bulk sea surface temperatures (SST at ~1 metre depth) that represent heat content.

The satellite sensitive skin layer can be related to the bulk SST at nighttime using existing parameteristions. During the daytime however, solar radiation warms the ocean surface and when low wind conditions are present, a stratified deck layer is formed. A one dimensional turbulence model is used to resolve the skin-bulk temperature difference during the day.

Data from moorings is compared with thermal and visible satellite data and a one dimensional ocean turbulence model is used to investigate SST on diurnal timescales. This research brings together data from diverse sources and combines them with numerical modelling to create a procedure for obtaining sea surface temperatures with good spatial and temporal coverage.

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