A considerable part of this study was done during the periodical work of SKG at IFM-GEOMAR during the last years. He thanks IFM-GEOMAR for its hospitality. We appreciate the help of our colleagues at IFM-GEOMAR: Karl Bumke, Ute Hecht, Thomas Martin, Anne Meyer, and Frauke Nevoigt. Special thanks to Scott Woodruff of NOAA/CDC (Boulder) and Steve Worley of DSS/NCAR (Boulder), who made available the ICOADS data for us. Discussions on different aspects of this work with Simon Josey and Liz Kent of SOC (Southampton), Andreas Sterl of KNMI (De Bilt), and Glenn White of NCEP (Camp Spring) were very helpful. Suggestions and criticism of anonymous reviewers and of the editor largely helped to improve the manuscript. This work was supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft Sonderforschungsbereich SFB-460, Russian Ministry of Science and Education, under the World Ocean Federal Program and by Russian Foundation for Basic Research (Grant 05-05-64882).
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