Surface Meteorology and Air-Sea Fluxes in the Western Equatorial Pacific Warm Pool during the TOGA Coupled Ocean-Atmosphere Response Experiment Academic Article uri icon


  • A major goal of the Coupled Ocean-Atmosphere Response Experiment (COARE) was to achieve significantly more accurate and complete descriptions of the surface meteorology and air-sea fluxes in the western equatorial warm pool region. Time series of near-surface meteorology from a buoy moored near the center of the COARE Intensive Flux Array (IFA) are described here. The accuracies of the measurements and the derived fluxes are quantified; agreement between average net heat fluxes at the buoy and two nearby research ships is better than 10 W m(-2) during three intercomparisons. Variability in the surface meteorology and fluxes associated with westerly wind bursts, periods of low winds, and short-lived, deep convective events characteristic of the region was large compared to the 4-month means. The ECMWF (European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts) analysis and prediction fields differed most from the buoy data during periods of short-lived, deep convective events, when several day averages of the net heat flux differed by more than 70 W m(-2) and had the opposite sign. A one-dimensional ocean model run to examine the sensitivity of the upper-ocean response to differences between the observed and the ECMWF fluxes illustrates the importance of the short-lived events as well as of the wind bursts in maintaining the temperature of the warm pool.

publication date

  • August 1996