Which bulk aerodynamic algorithms are least problematic in computing ocean surface turbulent fluxes?

Michael A. Brunke, Chris W. Fairall, Xubin Zeng, Laurence Eymard, Judith A. Curry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

151 Scopus citations


Bulk aerodynamic algorithms are needed to compute ocean surface turbulent fluxes in weather forecasting and climate models and in the development of global surface flux datasets. Twelve such algorithms are evaluated and ranked using direct turbulent flux measurements determined from covariance and inertial-dissipation methods from 12 ship cruises over the tropical and midlatitude oceans (from about 5°S to 60°N . The four least problematic of these 12 algorithms based upon the overall ranking for this data include the Coupled Ocean-Atmosphere Response Experiment (COARE) version 3.0 and The University of Arizona (UA) schemes as well as those used at the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Data Assimilation Office for version 1 of the Goddard Earth Observing System reanalysis (GEOS-1). Furthermore, the four most problematic of these algorithms are also identified along with possible explanations. The overall ranking is not substantially affected by the use of the average of covariance and inertial-dissipation flux measurements or by taking into consideration measurement uncertainties. The differences between computed and observed fluxes are further evaluated as a function of near-surface wind speed and sea surface temperature to understand the rankings. Finally, several unresolved issues in terms of measurement and algorithm uncertainties are raised.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)619-635
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Climate
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 15 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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