Global Ocean Surface Heat Flux Analysis

Lisan Yu, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

The goal of the project is to establish a one-stop shop for high-quality, long-term global ocean
surface forcing datasets, including air-sea heat (latent, sensible, shortwave, and longwave),
momentum, and freshwater (evaporation) fluxes, to serve the needs of ocean and climate
research and modeling community. The scientific rationale for developing and maintaining these
global flux time series is that reliable, long-term, climate records are essential for characterizing
long-term changes in surface forcing conditions, for attributing the causes of climate variability
and change that occurred in both the atmosphere and the ocean, and for quantifying the oceanic
role in the global energy budget and water cycle and their variability and change.
Direct flux measurements are limited, and global air-sea fluxes are commonly constructed from
the flux bulk parameterizations based on surface meteorological variables (e.g., wind speed,
temperature, humidity, cloud cover, etc). However, these meteorological variables are not
immune from errors/biases regardless their sources, i.e., ship-based measurements, satellite
derived products, and atmospheric reanalyses. This project, which is termed “Objectively
Analyzed air-sea heat Fluxes (OAFlux)”, is established on the basis that quality global flux fields
can be produced from an advanced statistical approach that objectively synthesizes the
advantages of the existing data sources.