A Comparison of Southern Ocean Air–Sea Buoyancy Flux from an Ocean State Estimate with Five Other Products
Journal of Climate
The authors have intercompared the following six surface buoyancy flux estimates, averaged over the years 2005-07: two reanalyses [the recent ECMWF reanalysis (ERA-Interim; hereafter ERA), and the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP)-NCAR reanalysis 1 (hereafter NCEP1)], two recent flux products developed as an improvement of NCEP1 [the flux product by Large and Yeager and the Southern Ocean State Estimate (SOSE)], and two ad hoc air-sea flux estimates that are obtained by
... ing the NCEP1 or ERA net radiative fluxes with turbulent flux estimates using the Coupled Ocean-Atmosphere Response Experiment (COARE) 3.0 bulk formulas with NCEP1 or ERA input variables. The accuracy of SOSE adjustments of NCEP1 atmospheric fields (which SOSE uses as an initial guess and a constraint) was assessed by verification that SOSE reduces the biases in the NCEP1 fluxes as diagnosed by the Working Group on Air-Sea Fluxes (Taylor), suggesting that oceanic observations may be a valuable constraint to improve atmospheric variables. Compared with NCEP1, both SOSE and Large and Yeager increase the net ocean heat loss in high latitudes, decrease ocean heat loss in the subtropical Indian Ocean, decrease net evaporation in the subtropics, and decrease net precipitation in polar latitudes. The large-scale pattern of SOSE and Large and Yeager turbulent heat flux adjustment is similar, but the magnitude of SOSE adjustments is significantly larger. Their radiative heat flux adjustments patterns differ. Turbulent heat fluxes determined by combining COARE bulk formulas with NCEP1 or ERA should not be combined with unmodified NCEP1 or ERA radiative fluxes as the net ocean heat gain poleward of 258S becomes unrealistically large. The other surface flux products (i.e., NCEP1, ERA, Large and Yeager, and SOSE) balance more closely. Overall, the statistical estimates of the differences between the various air-sea heat flux products tend to be largest in regions with strong ocean mesoscale activity such as the Antarctic Circumpolar Current and the western boundary currents.