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A B S T R A C T The buoyancy flux at the air/sea interface plays a key role in water mass transformation and mixing as it modifies surface water density and in turn drives overturning and enhances stratification. It is the interplay of these two independent heat and freshwater buoyancy flux components that is of central importance when analysing mechanisms of the ocean/atmosphere interaction. Here, a diagnostic quantity ( B ) is presented that allows to capture the relative contribution of bothdoi:10.1111/j.1600-0870.2011.00510.x fatcat:ctma7d2vbbgupdqqi2ehpcehl4