Different measures of wind influence the ocean in different ways. In particular, the time-averaged mixed layer turbulent energy production rate is proportional to (u*3), where u* is the "oceanic friction velocity" that is based on wind stress. Estimating (u*3) from monthly averages of wind stress or wind speed may introduce large biases due to the day-to-day variability of the direction and magnitude of the wind. The authors create monthly climatologies of (u*3) from daily wind stress measurements obtained from the Goddard Satellite-based Surface Turbulent Fluxes version 2 (GSSTF2; based on satellite microwave measurements), the Quick Scatterometer (QuikSCAT; based on satellite scatterometry measurements), and the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) reanalysis wind. The differences among zonal averages of these climatologies and of a similar climatology based on the da Silva version of the Comprehensive Ocean-Atmosphere Data Set (COADS) have a complex dependence on latitude. These differences are typically 10%-30% of the climatological values. The GSSTF2 data confirm that (u*3) is much larger than estimates from monthly averaged wind stress or wind speed, especially outside the Tropics.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Atmospheric Science