Profiles of ocean surface heating (POSH): A new model of upper ocean diurnal warming

Chelle L. Gentemann, Peter J. Minnett, Brian Ward

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


Shipboard radiometric measurements of diurnal warming at the ocean surface and profiles through the diurnal thermocline were utilized to assess the temporal and vertical variability and to develop a new physics-based model of near-surface warming. The measurements and modeled diurnal warming were compared, with the goal of comprehensively evaluating differences between the data and model results. On the basis of these results, the diurnal model was refined while attempting to maintain agreement with the measurements. Simplified bulk models commonly do not provide information on the vertical structure within the warm layer, but this new model predicts the vertical temperature profile within the diurnal thermocline using an empirically derived function dependent on wind speed. The vertical profile of temperature provides both a straightforward methodology for modeling differences due to diurnal warming between measurements made at different depths (e.g., in situ measurements at various depths and measurements of the surface temperatures by satellite radiometers) and information on upper ocean thermal structure. Additionally, the model estimates of diurnal warming at the ocean surface are important for air-sea heat and gas flux calculations, blending satellite sea surface temperature fields, and air-sea interaction studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberC07017
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Oceans
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 8 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Oceanography


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