Air-sea gas transfer velocity estimates from the Jason-1 and TOPEX altimeters : prospects for a long-term global time series
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Estimation of global and regional air–sea fluxes of climatically important gases is a key goal of current climate research programs. Gas transfer velocities needed to compute these fluxes can be estimated by combining altimeter-derived mean square slope with an empirical relation between transfer velocity and mean square slope derived from field measurements of gas fluxes and small-scale wave spectra [Frew, N.M., Bock, E.J., Schimpf, U., Hara, T., Hauβecker, H., Edson, J.B., McGillis, W.R., Nelson, R.K., McKenna, S.P., Uz, B.M., Jähne, B., 2004. Air–sea gas transfer: Its dependence on wind stress, small-scale roughness and surface films, J. Geophys. Res., 109, C08S17, doi: 10.1029/2003JC002131.]. We previously reported initial results from a dual-frequency (Ku- and C-band) altimeter algorithm [Glover, D.M., Frew, N.M., McCue, S.J., Bock, E.J., 2002. A Multi-year Time Series of Global Gas Transfer Velocity from the TOPEX Dual Frequency, Normalized Radar Backscatter Algorithm, In: Gas Transfer at Water Surfaces, editors: Donelan, M., Drennan, W., Saltzman, E., and Wanninkhof, R., Geophysical Monograph 127, American Geophysical Union, Washington, DC, 325–331.] for estimating the air–sea gas transfer velocity (k) from the mean square slope of short wind waves (40–100 rad/m) and derived a 6-year time series of global transfer velocities based on TOPEX observations. Since the launch of the follow-on altimeter Jason-1 in December 2001 and commencement of the TOPEX/Jason-1 Tandem Mission, we have extended this time series to 12 years, with improvements to the model parameters used in our algorithm and using the latest corrected data releases. The prospect of deriving multi-year and interdecadal time series of gas transfer velocity from TOPEX, Jason-1 and follow-on altimeter missions depends on precise intercalibration of the normalized backscatter. During the Tandem Mission collinear phase, both satellites followed identical orbits with a mere 73-s time separation. The resulting collocated, near-coincident normalized radar backscatter (σ°) data from both altimeters present a unique opportunity to intercalibrate the two instruments, compare derived fields of transfer velocity and estimate the precision of the algorithm. Initial results suggest that the monthly gas transfer velocity fields generated from the two altimeters are very similar. Comparison of along-track Ku-band and C-band σ° during the collinear phase indicates that observed discrepancies are due primarily to small offsets between TOPEX and Jason-1 σ°. The Jason-1 k values have an apparent bias of + 4% relative to TOPEX, while the precision estimated from the two observation sets is 5–7% and scales with k. The resultant long-term, global, mean k is 16 cm/h.
Author Posting. © Elsevier B.V., 2006. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of Elsevier B.V. for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Marine Systems 66 (2007): 173-181, doi:10.1016/j.jmarsys.2006.03.020.