High-resolution surface fluxes over the global ocean are needed to evaluate coupled atmosphere–ocean models and weather forecasting models, provide surface forcing for ocean models, understand the regional and temporal variations of the exchange of heat between the atmosphere and ocean, and provide a large-scale context for field experiments. Under the auspices of the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) Global Energy and Water Cycle Experiment (GEWEX) Radiation Panel, the SEAFLUX Project has been initiated to investigate producing a high-resolution satellite-based dataset of surface turbulent fluxes over the global oceans to complement the existing products for surface radiation fluxes and precipitation. The SEAFLUX Project includes the following elements: a library of in situ data, with collocated satellite data to be used in the evaluation and improvement of global flux products; organized intercomparison projects, to evaluate and improve bulk flux models and determination from the satellite of the input parameters; and coordinated evaluation of the flux products in the context of applications, such as forcing ocean models and evaluation of coupled atmosphere–ocean models. The objective of this paper is to present an overview of the status of global ocean surface flux products, the methodology being used by SEAFLUX, and the prospects for improvement of satellite-derived flux products.

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Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia

Institut Francais pour la Recherche et I'Exploitation de la Mer, Brest, France

Center for Ocean-Atmospheric Prediction Studies, The Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida

Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California

CSIRO Land and Water, Canberra, Australia

Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona

Department of Aerospace Engineering Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado

NASA GSFC, Greenbelt, Maryland

CETP/IPSL/CNRS, Velizy, France

NOAA ETL, Boulder, Colorado

School of Marine Science and Technology, Tokai University, Orido, Shimizu, Shizuoka, Japan

NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia

Bedford Institute of Oceanography, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada

Physical Sciences Division, British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge, United Kingdom

NASA GISS, New York, New York

Meteorological Institute, University of Bonn, Bonn, Germany