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Edward J. Kearns and H. Thomas Rossby

Abstract

The glass-pipe technology used for RAFOS floats is applied to the monitoring of convection in deep mixed layers. The velocity of a vertical current is estimated from the relationship between the drag force exerted on a float by the vertical current and the buoyancy force induced by the float's resultant displacement from hydrostatic equilibrium. Tests conducted in the winters of 1990 and 1991 in the 18°C waters of the northwestern Sargasso Sea reveal definite convective events. Vertical velocities of both upwelling and downwelling plumes are estimated to approach maxima nearing 0.05 m s−1, with durations of up to 2 h. One float that crossed the Gulf Stream and entered the Newfoundland Basin showed evidence of very active vertical currents in the near-surface waters with maximum velocities greater than 0.09 m s−1.

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Edward J. Kearns, Jennifer A. Hanafin, Robert H. Evans, Peter J. Minnett, and Otis B. Brown

The remotely sensed sea surface temperature (SST) estimated from the 4-km-resolution Pathfinder SST algorithm is compared to a SST locally measured by the Marine Atmospheric Emitted Radiance Interferometer (MAERI) during five oceanographic cruises in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, in conditions ranging from Arctic to equatorial. The Pathfinder SST is a product of the satellite-based Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer, while the MAERI is an infrared radiometric interferometer with continuous onboard calibration that can provide highly accurate (better than 0.05°C) in situ skin temperatures during extended shipboard deployments. Matchups, which are collocated (within 4 km) and coincident (±40 min during the day; ±120 min during the night) data, from these two different sources under cloud-free conditions are compared. The average difference between the MAERI and Pathfinder SSTs is found to be 0.07 ±0.31°C from 219 matchups during the low- and midlatitude cruises; inclusion of 80 more matchups from the Arctic comparisons produces an average global difference of 0.14 ±0.36°C. The MAERI-Pathfinder differences compare favorably with the average midlatitude differences between the MAERI skin SST and other bulk SST estimates commonly available for these cruises such as the research vessels' thermosalinograph SST (0.12 ±0.17°C) and the weekly National Centers for Environmental Prediction optimally interpolated SST analysis (0.41 ±0.58°C). While not representative of all possible oceanic and atmospheric regimes, the accuracy of the Pathfinder SST estimates under the conditions sampled by the five cruises is found to be at least twice as good as previously demonstrated.

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John J. Bates, Jeffrey L. Privette, Edward J. Kearns, Walter Glance, and Xuepeng Zhao

Abstract

The key objective of the NOAA Climate Data Record (CDR) program is the sustained production of high-quality, multidecadal time series data describing the global atmosphere, oceans, and land surface that can be used for informed decision-making. The challenges of a long-term program of sustaining CDRs, as contrasted with short-term efforts of traditional 3-yr research programs, are substantial. The sustained production of CDRs requires collaboration between experts in the climate community, data management, and software development and maintenance. It is also informed by scientific application and associated user feedback on the accessibility and usability of the produced CDRs. The CDR program has developed a metric for assessing the maturity of CDRs with respect to data management, software, and user application and applied it to over 30 CDRs. The main lesson learned over the past 7 years is that a rigorous team approach to data management, employing subject matter experts at every step, is critical to open and transparent production. This approach also makes it much easier to support the needs of users who want near-real-time production of CDRs for monitoring and users who want to use CDRs for tailored, derived information, such as a drought index.

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