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A. Weill
,
L. Eymard
,
G. Caniaux
,
D. Hauser
,
S. Planton
,
H. Dupuis
,
A. Brut
,
C. Guerin
,
P. Nacass
,
A. Butet
,
S. Cloché
,
R. Pedreros
,
P. Durand
,
D. Bourras
,
H. Giordani
,
G. Lachaud
, and
G. Bouhours

Abstract

An accurate determination of turbulent exchanges between the ocean and the atmosphere is a prerequisite to identify and assess the mechanisms of interaction that control part of the variability in the two media over a wide range of spatial and temporal scales. An extended dataset for estimating air–sea fluxes (representing nearly 5700 h of turbulence measurements) has been collected since 1992 during six dedicated experiments performed in the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. This paper presents the methodology used through the successive experiments to progress in this field. The major developments concern (i) flux instrumentation, with the deployment of a microwave refractometer to get the latent heat flux in most meteorological conditions; (ii) the analysis of airflow distortion effects around the ship structure and sensors through both computational fluid dynamics and physical simulations in a water tank, then the derivation of correction for these effects; (iii) the application of both inertial dissipation and eddy-correlation methods from the various experiments, allowing the authors to assess and discuss flux-determination methods on ships, and particularly bulk parameterization; (iv) the validation and analysis of mesoscale surface flux fields from models and satellites by using ship data, showing some deficiencies in operational model fields from ECMWF, the need of high-quality fluxes to interpret ocean–atmosphere exchanges, and the potential advantage of satellite retrieval methods. Further analysis of these datasets is being performed in a unique database (the ALBATROS project, open to the international scientific community). It will include refinement of airflow distortion correction and reprocessing of earlier datasets, the investigation of fluxes under specific conditions (low wind), and the effect of sea state among others. It will also contribute to further validation and improvements of satellite retrievals in various climatic/meteorological conditions.

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