preliminary report on the BOMEX sea-air interaction program

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  • 1 Director, Barbados Oceanographic and Meteorological Analysis Project (BOMAP), Environmental Science Services Administration, Rockville, Md.
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The principal objective of the Barbados Oceanographic and Meteorological Experiment (BOMEX) was to measure the rate of exchange of the “properties” heat, water substance and momentum between the tropical ocean and atmosphere over a 500-km square. The Sea-Air Interaction Program of BOMEX (called the “Core Experiment”) determined the ship and aircraft array configuration and observation schedule during the period from 1 May to 2 July 1969. Intensive and in many cases redundant observations by several methods were made to permit for each property:

  • a) direct measurement of vertical eddy flux of the property in the surface layer of the atmosphere;
  • b) computation of horizontal flux divergence of the property in the lower 600 mb of the atmosphere, integrated over the array area;
  • c) vertical transport of the properties through the top surface of this volume due to the mean vertical velocity;
  • d) local rate of change of the volume integral of the property; and
  • e) internal sources and sinks (i.e. radiation, precipitation, stress).

Ranges of spatial resolution from 10 m to 500 km and temporal resolution from milliseconds to days are provided by the various sensor systems. Data reduction and analysis are underway. Preliminary results indicate that the goal of obtaining values of the significant energy transfer rates and conversions, with accuracy and resolution about an order of magnitude better than any previously available, will be attained. If so, a test of available parameterization formulae will be possible even under the relatively constant and uniform conditions over the tropical oceans.

The principal objective of the Barbados Oceanographic and Meteorological Experiment (BOMEX) was to measure the rate of exchange of the “properties” heat, water substance and momentum between the tropical ocean and atmosphere over a 500-km square. The Sea-Air Interaction Program of BOMEX (called the “Core Experiment”) determined the ship and aircraft array configuration and observation schedule during the period from 1 May to 2 July 1969. Intensive and in many cases redundant observations by several methods were made to permit for each property:

  • a) direct measurement of vertical eddy flux of the property in the surface layer of the atmosphere;
  • b) computation of horizontal flux divergence of the property in the lower 600 mb of the atmosphere, integrated over the array area;
  • c) vertical transport of the properties through the top surface of this volume due to the mean vertical velocity;
  • d) local rate of change of the volume integral of the property; and
  • e) internal sources and sinks (i.e. radiation, precipitation, stress).

Ranges of spatial resolution from 10 m to 500 km and temporal resolution from milliseconds to days are provided by the various sensor systems. Data reduction and analysis are underway. Preliminary results indicate that the goal of obtaining values of the significant energy transfer rates and conversions, with accuracy and resolution about an order of magnitude better than any previously available, will be attained. If so, a test of available parameterization formulae will be possible even under the relatively constant and uniform conditions over the tropical oceans.

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