> Oceanography > Issues > Archive > Volume 23, Number 4

2010, Oceanography 23(4):36–51, http://dx.doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2010.04

Ocean Winds and Turbulent Air-Sea Fluxes Inferred
From Remote Sensing

Authors | Abstract | Full Article | Citation | References


Mark A. Bourassa | Center for Ocean-Atmospheric Prediction Studies (COAPS) and Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Science, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL, USA

Sarah T. Gille | Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA, USA

Darren L. Jackson | Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, US

J. Brent Roberts | Earth Science Office, National Aeronautics and Space Administration/Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, AL, USA

Gary A. Wick | Satellite Applications Group, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Earth System Research Laboratory, Boulder, CO, USA



Surface turbulent fluxes are key pathways through which the atmosphere is coupled with the ocean. They provide mechanisms through which momentum, energy, moisture, and materials such as CO2 are transferred between the ocean and atmosphere. Surface fluxes are also important players in vertical and horizontal transport in the atmosphere and the ocean. There have been attempts to estimate surface fluxes directly from satellite observations; however, they are typically calculated from observations of surface and near‑surface variables. Recent improvements in the measurement of vector winds, air temperatures, and atmospheric humidities have all contributed to better estimation of surface fluxes from satellite observations. These advances are discussed in the context of applications, with examples from a tropical cyclone and a very strong mid-latitude storm. Proposed future systems that use improved instrumentation and collocate observations of winds, temperatures, and humidities will increase the accuracy beyond current capabilities. Targets for a variety of important climate-related processes are provided.


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Bourassa, M.A., S.T. Gille, D.L. Jackson, J.B. Roberts, and G.A. Wick. 2010. Ocean winds and turbulent air-sea fluxes inferred from remote sensing. Oceanography 23(4):36–51, http://dx.doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2010.04.



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