Ocean surface heat fluxes play a significant role in the genesis and evolution of various marine-based atmospheric phenomena, from the synoptic scale down to the microscale. While in-situ measurements from buoys and flux towers will continue to be the standard in regard to surface heat flux estimates, they commonly have significant gaps in temporal and spatial coverage. Previous and current satellite missions have filled these gaps; though they may not observe the fluxes directly, they can measure the variables needed (wind speed, temperature and humidity) to estimate latent and sensible heat fluxes. However, current remote sensing instruments have their own limitations, such as infrequent coverage, signals attenuated by precipitation or both. The Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS) mission overcomes these limitations over the tropical and subtropical oceans by providing improved coverage in nearly all weather conditions. While CYGNSS (Level 2) primarily estimates surface winds, when coupled with observations or estimates of temperature and humidity from reanalysis data, it can provide estimates of latent and sensible heat fluxes along its orbit. This paper describes the development of the Surface Heat Flux Product for the CYGNSS mission, its current results and expected improvements and changes in future releases.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited