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Open AccessArticle

FluxSat: Measuring the Ocean–Atmosphere Turbulent Exchange of Heat and Moisture from Space

1
Farallon Institute, Petaluma, CA 94952, USA
2
Earth and Space Research, Seattle, WA 98105, USA
3
Department of Physical Oceanography, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, MA 02543, USA
4
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91109, USA
5
Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Science, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL 32306, USA
6
Department of Ocean Sciences at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, University of Miami, Miami, FL 33149, USA
7
Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093-0230, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(11), 1796; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12111796
Received: 6 May 2020 / Revised: 27 May 2020 / Accepted: 28 May 2020 / Published: 3 June 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Air-Sea Fluxes)
Recent results using wind and sea surface temperature data from satellites and high-resolution coupled models suggest that mesoscale ocean–atmosphere interactions affect the locations and evolution of storms and seasonal precipitation over continental regions such as the western US and Europe. The processes responsible for this coupling are difficult to verify due to the paucity of accurate air–sea turbulent heat and moisture flux data. These fluxes are currently derived by combining satellite measurements that are not coincident and have differing and relatively low spatial resolutions, introducing sampling errors that are largest in regions with high spatial and temporal variability. Observational errors related to sensor design also contribute to increased uncertainty. Leveraging recent advances in sensor technology, we here describe a satellite mission concept, FluxSat, that aims to simultaneously measure all variables necessary for accurate estimation of ocean–atmosphere turbulent heat and moisture fluxes and capture the effect of oceanic mesoscale forcing. Sensor design is expected to reduce observational errors of the latent and sensible heat fluxes by almost 50%. FluxSat will improve the accuracy of the fluxes at spatial scales critical to understanding the coupled ocean–atmosphere boundary layer system, providing measurements needed to improve weather forecasts and climate model simulations. View Full-Text
Keywords: air–sea interactions; mesoscale; fluxes air–sea interactions; mesoscale; fluxes
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  • Externally hosted supplementary file 1
    Doi: http://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.3840651
    Link: https://github.com/cgentemann/2020_FluxSat_MDPI_RemoteSensing
    Description: The scripts and data used to perform the analysis and generate this manuscript are available on https://github.com/cgentemann/2020_FluxSat_MDPI_RemoteSensing and archived in Zenodo.
MDPI and ACS Style

Gentemann, C.L.; Clayson, C.A.; Brown, S.; Lee, T.; Parfitt, R.; Farrar, J.T.; Bourassa, M.; Minnett, P.J.; Seo, H.; Gille, S.T.; Zlotnicki, V. FluxSat: Measuring the Ocean–Atmosphere Turbulent Exchange of Heat and Moisture from Space. Remote Sens. 2020, 12, 1796.

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