Ocean Heat Flux
Ocean Heat Flux
International Scientific Cooperation
Climate is very much about exchanges of energy in the Earth System, and in particular in the form of heat. Quantifying these exchanges, and in particular how much extra heat has been generated by human activities, and how it affects our climate system is one of the key challenges faced by the climate research community. The global ocean plays a critical role in regulating these energy flows, being by far the most important heat reservoir due to its enormous heat storage and transport capacity. Over the last 50 years, it is estimated that a large share (about 90%) of the extra human-induced heat has penetrated the ocean through net surface heat fluxes, leading to an observed increase of the Ocean Heat Content (OHC).
In this context, the WCRP CLIVAR has recently established a new research opportunity on â€œConsistency between Planetary Heat Balance and Ocean Heat Storageâ€. The main objective of the CLIVAR cross-cutting activity is to understand better the â€œrole of the ocean energy uptakeâ€ by analyzing consistency of heat budget components as seen by independent global observing systems, including (i) Earth Observation (EO) satellite data, (ii) in-situ measurements of ocean heat content storage changes, and (iii) Ocean reanalysis for heat transports and exchanges. Each of these independent approaches has its own advantages and drawbacks in terms of sampling capability and accuracy, leading to different estimates, and associated uncertainties of budget imbalance. Reconciling these different estimates to close the energy budget is a key emerging research topic in climate science.
To address the EO component of the CLIVAR research opportunity, the â€œOcean Heat Fluxâ€ project in supporting CLIVAR fostering the use of EO data and products, in particular from ESA EO missions to generate a new set of ocean heat flux products in support of the CLIVAR research opportunity.
This project focuses on evaluating and improving the turbulent component of the Net Heat Flux, taking its radiative components as given (along with their uncertainties). A key element of the â€œevaluationâ€ of these data sets is a new â€œregionalâ€ approach using heat budget constraints in some suitable â€œreferenceâ€ areas, either at the basin, regional or even global scale. This approach would extend the traditional concept of â€œsuper-siteâ€ to the new concept of â€œsuper-regionsâ€ for flux calibration, validation and evaluation.
IFREMER : Institut Francais pour la Recherche et l'Exploitation de la MER(Prime contractor)DWD : Deutscher Wetterdienst(Subcontractor)NERSC : Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Center (Subcontractor)PML : Plymouth Marine Laboratory(Subcontractor)MIO : Institut MÃ©diterranÃ©en dâ€™OcÃ©anologie(Subcontractor)