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David I. Berry
and
Elizabeth C. Kent

The exchange, or flux, of heat between the oceans and atmosphere is an important driver of the global oceanic and atmospheric circulations but remains poorly quantified. Direct measurement of heat flux remains a research activity and so global heat flux datasets are generated using observations of winds, air and sea temperatures, and humidity as input to heat flux parameterizations known as “bulk formulas.” We remain dependent on the observations from merchant ships in the Voluntary Observing Ships (VOS) program, which are archived in the International Comprehensive Ocean-Atmosphere Dataset (ICOADS); measurements from buoys are sparse and satellites cannot accurately recover all the variables required for heat flux calculation.

Careful analysis of VOS data is necessary to produce gridded datasets of meteorological variables and fluxes with the accuracy required for climate research. Past in situ flux datasets have averaged observations on monthly timescales to reduce random uncertainty. It has therefore been hard to understand the contributions to observed variability from measurement errors, poor sampling, or natural variability. The new dataset, which covers the period 1973 to 2006, avoids this problem by first constructing daily mean fields using optimal interpolation. This allows each component of variability to be handled correctly and, for the first time, uncertainty estimates to be produced. New bias adjustments have also been developed and applied. The new dataset is described and a preliminary comparison with flux estimates from moored buoys, satellites, and atmospheric reanalysis models is presented.

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David I. Berry
,
Elizabeth C. Kent
, and
Peter K. Taylor

Abstract

Marine air temperature reports from ships can contain significant biases due to the solar heating of the instruments and their surroundings. However, there have been very few attempts to derive corrections. The biases can reverse the sign of the measured air–sea temperature differences and cause significant errors in the sea surface latent and sensible heat flux estimates. In this paper a new correction for the radiative heating errors is presented. The correction is based on the analytical solution of the heat budget for an idealized ship, using empirical coefficients to represent the physical parameters. For the first time heat storage is included in the correction model. The heating errors are estimated for the Ocean Weather Ship Cumulus and the coefficients determined. When the correction is applied to the Cumulus data the average estimated error is reduced from 0.32° to 0.04°C and the diurnal cycle in the error is removed. The rms error is reduced by 30%. The correction technique, although not the coefficients derived here that are specific to the Cumulus, can be applied to air temperature data from any type of ship, or to data from groups of ships such as the Voluntary Observing Ships.

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Thomas E. Cropper
,
David I. Berry
,
Richard C. Cornes
, and
Elizabeth C. Kent

Abstract

Marine air temperatures recorded on ships during the daytime are known to be biased warm on average due to energy storage by the superstructure of the vessels. This makes unadjusted daytime observations unsuitable for many applications including for the monitoring of long-term temperature change over the oceans. In this paper a physics-based approach is used to estimate this heating bias in ship observations from ICOADS. Under this approach, empirically determined coefficients represent the energy transfer terms of a heat budget model that quantifies the heating bias and is applied as a function of cloud cover and the relative wind speed over individual ships. The coefficients for each ship are derived from the anomalous diurnal heating relative to nighttime air temperature. Model coefficients, cloud cover, and relative wind speed are then used to estimate the heating bias ship by ship and generate nighttime-equivalent time series. A variety of methodological approaches were tested. Application of this method enables the inclusion of some daytime observations in climate records based on marine air temperatures, allowing an earlier start date and giving an increase in spatial coverage compared to existing records that exclude daytime observations.

Significance Statement

Currently, the longest available record of air temperature over the oceans starts in 1880. We present an approach that enables observations of air temperatures over the oceans to be used in the creation of long-term climate records that are presently excluded. We do this by estimating the biases inherent in daytime temperature reports from ships, and adjust for these biases by implementing a numerical heat-budget model. The adjustment can be applied to the variety of ship types present in observational archives. The resulting adjusted temperatures can be used to create a more spatially complete record over the oceans, that extends further back in time, potentially into the late eighteenth century.

Open access
Chunying Liu
,
Eric Freeman
,
Elizabeth C. Kent
,
David I. Berry
,
Steven J. Worley
,
Shawn R. Smith
,
Boyin Huang
,
Huai-min Zhang
,
Thomas Cram
,
Zaihua Ji
,
Mathieu Ouellet
,
Isabelle Gaboury
,
Frank Oliva
,
Axel Andersson
,
William E. Angel
,
Angela R. Sallis
, and
Adedoja Adeyeye

Abstract

This paper describes the new International Comprehensive Ocean–Atmosphere Data Set (ICOADS) near-real-time (NRT) release (R3.0.2), with greatly enhanced completeness over the previous version (R3.0.1). R3.0.1 had been operationally produced monthly from January 2015 onward, with input data from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Global Telecommunication Systems (GTS) transmissions in the Traditional Alphanumeric Codes (TAC) format. Since the release of R3.0.1, however, many observing platforms have changed, or are in the process of transitioning, to the Binary Universal Form for Representation of Meteorological Data (BUFR) format. R3.0.2 combines input data from both BUFR and TAC formats. In this paper, we describe input data sources; the BUFR decoding process for observations from drifting buoys, moored buoys, and ships; and the data quality control of the TAC and BUFR data streams. We also describe how the TAC and BUFR streams were merged to upgrade R3.0.1 into R3.0.2 with duplicates removed. Finally, we compare the number of reports and spatial coverage of essential climate variables (ECVs) between R3.0.1 and R3.0.2. ICOADS NRT R3.0.2 shows both quantitative and qualitative gains from the inclusion of BUFR reports. The number of observations in R3.0.2 increased by nearly 1 million reports per month, and the coverage of buoy and ship sea surface temperatures (SSTs) on monthly 2° × 2° grids increased by 20%. The number of reported ECVs also increased in R3.0.2. For example, observations of SST and sea level pressure (SLP) increased by around 30% and 20%, respectively, as compared to R3.0.1, and salinity is a new addition to the ICOADS NRT product in R3.0.2.

Significance Statement

The International Comprehensive Ocean–Atmosphere Data Set (ICOADS) is the largest collection of surface marine observations spanning from 1662 to the present. A new version, ICOADS near-real-time 3.0.2, includes data transmitted in the Binary Universal Form for Representation of Meteorological Data (BUFR) format, in combination with Traditional Alphanumeric Codes (TAC) data. Many of the organizations that report observations in near–real time have moved to BUFR, so this update brings ICOADS into alignment with collections and archives of these international data distributions. By including the BUFR reports, the number of observations in the upgraded version of ICOADS increased by nearly one million reports per month and spatial coverage of buoy and ship SSTs increased by 20% over the previous version.

Open access