Boundary-Layer Fluxes of Heat, Momentum, and Moisture

The vertical exchanges of heat, moisture, and energy across the planetary boundary layer are critical to both the oceanic state and the atmospheric state. Models of the boundary layer are being combined with information from satellites such as ERS-1&2, SSM/I microwave measurements, global weather analyses, and in situ measurements to estimate surface fluxes and understand their relationship to atmospheric and oceanic phenomena. For example, in the following figure we show the surface wind vectors from ERS-1, the surface wind speed from SSM/I, and the surface pressure map for an incipient midlatitude storm over the Pacific Ocean. The surface wind speed, the surface air temperature, and the near surface humidity are all strongly modulated by the large-scale atmospheric structures in midlatitudes, and all these changes have significant effects on surface fluxes of heat, momentum, and moisture. Information about surface wind speed from NSCAT II, combined with temperature and humidity data from AIRS/AMSU/MHS and MIMR will enable much improved understanding and better estimates of surface fluxes to be gained from EOS satellites.