Document Type


Publication Date



Marine Science


It has been difficult to estimate the sensible heat flux at the air - sea interface using satellite data because of the difficulty in remotely observing the sea level air temperature. In this study, a new method is developed for estimating the sensible heat flux using satellite observations under unstable conditions. The basic idea of the method is that the air - sea temperature difference is related to the atmospheric convergence. Employed data include the wind convergence, sea level humidity, and sea surface temperature. These parameters can be derived from the satellite wind vectors, Special Sensor Microwave Imager (SSM/I) precipitable water, and Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) observations, respectively. The authors selected a region east of Japan as the test area where the atmospheric convergence appears all year. Comparison between the heat fluxes derived from the satellite data and from the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) data suggests that the rms difference between the two kinds of sensible heat fluxes has low values in the sea area east of Japan with a minimum of 10.0 W m(-2). The time series of the two kinds of sensible heat fluxes at 10 locations in the area are in agreement, with rms difference ranging between 10.0 and 14.1 W m(-2) and correlation coefficient being higher than 0.7. In addition, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration ( NASA) Goddard Satellite-Based Surface Turbulent Flux (GSSTF) was used for a further comparison. The low-rms region with high correlation coefficient (>0.7) was also found in the region east of Japan with a minimum of 12.2 W m(-2). Considering the nonlinearity in calculation of the sensible monthly means, the authors believe that the comparison with GSSTF is consistent with that with NCEP data.


©Journal of Physical Oceanography
DOI: 10.1175/1520-0485(2004)034<0968:ANMFEO>2.0.CO;2

Publication Title

Journal of Physical Oceanography





First Page


Last Page


Find in your library