Stability-Dependent Exchange Coefficients for Air–Sea Fluxes

A. Birol Kara Naval Research Laboratory, Stennis Space Center, Mississippi

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Harley E. Hurlburt Naval Research Laboratory, Stennis Space Center, Mississippi

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Alan J. Wallcraft Naval Research Laboratory, Stennis Space Center, Mississippi

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Abstract

This study introduces exchange coefficients for wind stress (CD), latent heat flux (CL), and sensible heat flux (CS) over the global ocean. They are obtained from the state-of-the-art Coupled Ocean–Atmosphere Response Experiment (COARE) bulk algorithm (version 3.0). Using the exchange coefficients from this bulk scheme, CD, CL, and CS are then expressed as simple polynomial functions of air–sea temperature difference (TaTs)—where air temperature (Ta) is at 10 m, wind speed (Va) is at 10 m, and relative humidity (RH) is at the air–sea interface—to parameterize stability. The advantage of using polynomial-based exchange coefficients is that they do not require any iterations for stability. In addition, they agree with results from the COARE algorithm but at ≈5 times lower computation cost, an advantage that is particularly needed for ocean general circulation models (OGCMs) and climate models running at high horizontal resolution and short time steps. The effects of any water vapor flux in calculating the exchange coefficients are taken into account in the polynomial functions, a feature that is especially important at low wind speeds (e.g., Va < 5 m s−1) because air–sea mixing ratio difference can have a major effect on the stability, particularly in tropical regions. Analyses of exchange coefficients demonstrate the fact that water vapor can have substantial impact on air–sea exchange coefficients at low wind speeds. An example application of the exchange coefficients from the polynomial approach is the recalculation of climatological mean wind stress magnitude from 40-yr European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) Re-Analysis (ERA-40) data in the North Pacific Ocean over 1979–2002. Using ECMWF 10-m winds and the authors’ methodology provides accurate surface stresses while largely eliminating the orographically induced Gibb’s waves found in the original ERA-40 surface wind stresses. These can have a large amplitude near mountainous regions and can extend far into the ocean interior. This study introduces exchange coefficients of air–sea fluxes, which are applicable to the wide range of conditions occurring over the global ocean, including the air–sea stability differences across the Gulf Stream and Kuroshio, regions which have been the subject of many climate model studies. This versatility results because CD, CL, and CS are determined for Va values of 1 to 40 m s−1, (TaTs), intervals of −8° to 7°C, and RH values of 0% to 100%. Exchange coefficients presented here are called the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) Air–Sea Exchange Coefficients (NASEC) and they are suitable for a wide range of air–sea interaction studies and model applications.

Corresponding author address: Birol Kara, Naval Research Laboratory, Code 7320, Bldg. 1009, Stennis Space Center, MS 39529-5004. Email: kara@nrlssc.navy.mil

Abstract

This study introduces exchange coefficients for wind stress (CD), latent heat flux (CL), and sensible heat flux (CS) over the global ocean. They are obtained from the state-of-the-art Coupled Ocean–Atmosphere Response Experiment (COARE) bulk algorithm (version 3.0). Using the exchange coefficients from this bulk scheme, CD, CL, and CS are then expressed as simple polynomial functions of air–sea temperature difference (TaTs)—where air temperature (Ta) is at 10 m, wind speed (Va) is at 10 m, and relative humidity (RH) is at the air–sea interface—to parameterize stability. The advantage of using polynomial-based exchange coefficients is that they do not require any iterations for stability. In addition, they agree with results from the COARE algorithm but at ≈5 times lower computation cost, an advantage that is particularly needed for ocean general circulation models (OGCMs) and climate models running at high horizontal resolution and short time steps. The effects of any water vapor flux in calculating the exchange coefficients are taken into account in the polynomial functions, a feature that is especially important at low wind speeds (e.g., Va < 5 m s−1) because air–sea mixing ratio difference can have a major effect on the stability, particularly in tropical regions. Analyses of exchange coefficients demonstrate the fact that water vapor can have substantial impact on air–sea exchange coefficients at low wind speeds. An example application of the exchange coefficients from the polynomial approach is the recalculation of climatological mean wind stress magnitude from 40-yr European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) Re-Analysis (ERA-40) data in the North Pacific Ocean over 1979–2002. Using ECMWF 10-m winds and the authors’ methodology provides accurate surface stresses while largely eliminating the orographically induced Gibb’s waves found in the original ERA-40 surface wind stresses. These can have a large amplitude near mountainous regions and can extend far into the ocean interior. This study introduces exchange coefficients of air–sea fluxes, which are applicable to the wide range of conditions occurring over the global ocean, including the air–sea stability differences across the Gulf Stream and Kuroshio, regions which have been the subject of many climate model studies. This versatility results because CD, CL, and CS are determined for Va values of 1 to 40 m s−1, (TaTs), intervals of −8° to 7°C, and RH values of 0% to 100%. Exchange coefficients presented here are called the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) Air–Sea Exchange Coefficients (NASEC) and they are suitable for a wide range of air–sea interaction studies and model applications.

Corresponding author address: Birol Kara, Naval Research Laboratory, Code 7320, Bldg. 1009, Stennis Space Center, MS 39529-5004. Email: kara@nrlssc.navy.mil

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