The Interface or Air–Sea Flux Component of the TOGA Coupled Ocean–Atmosphere Response Experiment and Its Impact on Subsequent Air–Sea Interaction Studies* Academic Article uri icon


  • The interface or air-sea flux component of the Coupled Ocean-Atmosphere Response Experiment (COARE) of the Tropical Ocean Global Atmosphere (TOGA) research program and its subsequent impact on studies of air-sea interaction are described. The field work specific to the interface component was planned to improve understanding of air-sea interaction in the Tropics by improving the methodology of flux measurements and by collecting a comprehensive set of observations with coverage of a broad range of time and space scales. The strategies adopted for COARE, particularly the on-site intercomparisons, postexperiment studies of instrument performance, and bulk flux algorithm development, ensured the compilation of very high quality data for the basic near-surface meteorological variables and air-sea fluxes. The success in meeting the goals of improved air-sea heat and freshwater fluxes was verified by closure of the ocean heat and freshwater budgets to within 10 W m(-2) and 20%, respectively. These results confirm that accurate in situ observations of air-sea fluxes can be obtained during extensive measurement campaigns, and have established the foundation for current plans for global, long-term oceanic observations of surface meteorology and air-sea fluxes. At the same time, some uncertainties remained after COARE, which must be addressed in future studies of air-sea interaction.

publication date

  • February 2004