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Space-based surface wind vectors to aid understanding of air-sea interactions

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Abstract

Our understanding and prediction of the large-scale air-sea interactions that are thought to significantly influence both the atmosphere and ocean can be improved by consistent oceanic surface wind data of high quality and high temporal and spatial resolution. Surface wind stress provides the most important forcing of the ocean circulation and the fluxes of heat, moisture, and momentum across the air-sea boundary are important factors in theories of El Nñio-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the 50-day oscillation. Unfortunately, an adequate observational data base to perform such studies has been lacking.

In this paper, we describe a new and unique ocean surface wind data set derived by combining the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) Special Sensor Microwave Imager (SSM/I) data with other conventional data, presenting both the methodology and some examples of the results. We are currently using these data in several studies, as discussed in the conclusion, and are preparing a more detailed description of the development and testing of our algorithms. These data are available through the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Ocean Data System (NODS).

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