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An air-sea flux, SST, wave database from the ATOMIC field program

Field campaigns have been designed to collect in-situ data that both improve process level understanding and form benchmark datasets for experiments with and improvements of reanalysis, satellite data, and models. However, the transition of observations to model, satellite, and reanalysis projects rarely happens in a timely fashion or with full participation between all expert parties involved. This proposed data synthesis effort will produce a more effective and lasting use of ATOMIC field campaign observations for evaluating satellite and reanalysis products and use in numerical models. The ATOMIC 2020 field campaign in the northwestern tropical Atlantic Ocean collected a unique and diverse dataset of air-sea interaction, ocean properties, and clouds from drifting, shipborne, airborne, air-deployed, and uncrewed platforms. The variety of measurement heights and depths, platform motions, and instrument uncertainties is at the same time a strength and a usability barrier. To invite effective and lasting use by modeling, satellite, and reanalysis teams, the observation teams must account for these details and synthesize the measurements in a common, standard, open source database. In the first year of the project we will convene a joint conference to obtain guidance from modelers on critical variables and data formats. The air-sea fluxes, sea surface temperature (SST), and surface waves are the three most important sets of information for coupled weather and climate models to resolve correctly to understand and predict environmental change. Our hypothesis is that the strengths in terms of model, satellite, and observational research applications of a combined, consistent ATOMIC database of SST, fluxes, and waves from multiple platforms far outweighs the strengths of any individual dataset. We will make use of periods of co-located data between in situ and airborne platforms plus satellite overpasses, with the NOAA Ship Ronald H. Brown serving as the standard for comparison. We will draw on ATOMIC and EUREC4A data for the most complete picture to produce and archive a combined, consistently quality controlled, and consistently processed database from all platforms. Databases for SST, air-sea fluxes, waves, plus near surface bulk variables that result from this effort will be posted to NCEI for public distribution.
By bringing observations to the modeling and satellite communities and facilitating partnerships across the external and NOAA communities, the proposed data synthesis directly responds to the COM/CVP/GOMO call to “develop an observations-based product for climate monitoring or modeling application” that “increases the use of NOAA’s historical field campaign data” and “enables improved climate modeling or monitoring (e.g., enables future climate model evaluation, validation, process-oriented diagnostics)”, contributing to the first two objectives of NOAA’s long- term climate goals as described in NOAA’s Next-Generation Strategic Plan.

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