© The Author(s), 2019. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The definitive version was published in Centurioni, L. R., Turton, J., Lumpkin, R., Braasch, L., Brassington, G., Chao, Y., Charpentier, E., Chen, Z., Corlett, G., Dohan, K., Donlon, C., Gallage, C., Hormann, V., Ignatov, A., Ingleby, B., Jensen, R., Kelly-Gerreyn, B. A., Koszalka, I. M., Lin, X., Lindstrom, E., Maximenko, N., Merchant, C. J., Minnett, P., O'Carroll, A., Paluszkiewicz, T., Poli, P., Poulain, P., Reverdin, G., Sun, X., Swail, V., Thurston, S., Wu, L., Yu, L., Wang, B., & Zhang, D. Global in situ observations of essential climate and ocean variables at the air-sea interface. Frontiers in Marine Science, 6, (2019): 419, doi: 10.3389/fmars.2019.00419.
The air–sea interface is a key gateway in the Earth system. It is where the atmosphere sets the ocean in motion, climate/weather-relevant air–sea processes occur, and pollutants (i.e., plastic, anthropogenic carbon dioxide, radioactive/chemical waste) enter the sea. Hence, accurate estimates and forecasts of physical and biogeochemical processes at this interface are critical for sustainable blue economy planning, growth, and disaster mitigation. Such estimates and forecasts rely on accurate and integrated in situ and satellite surface observations. High-impact uses of ocean surface observations of essential ocean/climate variables (EOVs/ECVs) include (1) assimilation into/validation of weather, ocean, and climate forecast models to improve their skill, impact, and value; (2) ocean physics studies (i.e., heat, momentum, freshwater, and biogeochemical air–sea fluxes) to further our understanding and parameterization of air–sea processes; and (3) calibration and validation of satellite ocean products (i.e., currents, temperature, salinity, sea level, ocean color, wind, and waves). We review strengths and limitations, impacts, and sustainability of in situ ocean surface observations of several ECVs and EOVs. We draw a 10-year vision of the global ocean surface observing network for improved synergy and integration with other observing systems (e.g., satellites), for modeling/forecast efforts, and for a better ocean observing governance. The context is both the applications listed above and the guidelines of frameworks such as the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS) and Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) (both co-sponsored by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO, IOC–UNESCO; the World Meteorological Organization, WMO; the United Nations Environment Programme, UNEP; and the International Science Council, ISC). Networks of multiparametric platforms, such as the global drifter array, offer opportunities for new and improved in situ observations. Advances in sensor technology (e.g., low-cost wave sensors), high-throughput communications, evolving cyberinfrastructures, and data information systems with potential to improve the scope, efficiency, integration, and sustainability of the ocean surface observing system are explored.
LC, LB, and VH were supported by NOAA grant NA15OAR4320071 and ONR grant N00014-17-1-2517. RL was supported by NOAA/AOML and NOAA’s Ocean Observation and Monitoring Division. NM was partly supported by NASA grant NNX17AH43G. IK was supported by the Nordic Seas Eddy Exchanges (NorSEE) funded by the Norwegian Research Council (Grant 221780). DZ was partly funded by the Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean (JISAO) under NOAA Cooperative Agreement NA15OAR4320063. RJ was supported by the USACE’s Civil Works 096×3123.
global in situ observations
essential climate and ocean variables
climate variability and change
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