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Automated Weather Observations from Ships and Buoys: A Future Resource for Climatologists. Shawn R. Smith. Center for Ocean-Atmospheric Prediction Studies Florida State University Tallahassee, FL USA. Overview. The need for in-situ climate data is not limited to land stations

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automated weather observations from ships and buoys a future resource for climatologists

Automated Weather Observations from Ships and Buoys:A Future Resource for Climatologists

Shawn R. Smith

Center for Ocean-Atmospheric Prediction Studies

Florida State University

Tallahassee, FL USA

overview
Overview
  • The need for in-situ climate data is not limited to land stations
  • Knowledge of air-sea fluxes (e.g., heat, water, carbon) is essential for understanding global climate processes
  • NOAA is spearheading the U. S. effort to expand and improve the network of in-situ observations from the global oceans

Image from NOAA OGP

example enso monitoring
Example: ENSO Monitoring
  • Prior to the 1982/83 El Niño, in-situ observations of the tropical Pacific were limited to merchant ships and island stations.
  • Along came TAO/TRITON
    • PMEL began installing and maintaining a continuous network of moored buoys
    • Data from these buoys improved analyses (e.g., FSU winds) used to force models
    • Provided a data resource to better understand ENSO as part of the climate

Photo credit: NOAA/PMEL/TAO Project Office

  • Recently this array is transitioning from a research mode to become part of an operational observing system
needed observations
Needed Observations
  • Ideally in-situ measurements near the ocean surface should provide all parameters needed to resolve air-sea fluxes
    • Meteorology: Winds, air temperature, humidity, pressure, precipitation, radiation (multiple components)
    • Sea surface: Temperature, salinity, sea state, ice cover
    • Precise platform navigation (location, orientation, earth-relative motion)
  • High data accuracy and sampling rates are desired
  • Detailed metadata are also essential (instrument heights, exposures, etc.)
  • Must go beyond the tropics, into harsh operational environments (e.g., Southern Ocean, North Pacific)

Photo credit: USCG

ships the early days
Ships: The early days
  • For the last century, the primary source of weather data over the ocean was observations made by merchant vessel operators
  • Data primarily collected manually and submitted upon arrival in suitable port
  • GTS provided for real-time data transmission
  • Limitations:
    • Low sampling rates (3-6 hr)
    • Minimal navigation information
    • Incomplete metadata
ships automation
Ships: Automation
  • More recently advancements in computer technology has led to the deployment of automated weather systems (AWS)
  • First deployed on research vessels and buoys
  • In the past 5 years, new initiatives have deployed sensors on volunteer observing ships (merchant ships, yachts, cruise ships)
  • Initial development underway for moored platforms in extreme environments

Photo credit: NOAA

Photo credit: WHOI

Photo credit: WHOI

typical aws
Typical AWS
  • High-resolution marine AWS
    • Sampling rates 1-60 minutes
    • Continuous recording
    • Typically bow or mast mounted on R/V
  • Data rarely available in real-time (good for independent validation)

Photo credit: WHOI

automation future
Automation: future
  • Standard meteorological package
    • Fluxes are determined using a bulk modeling approach
  • Experimental system
    • Directly measure fluxes
    • Example: Southampton Oceanography Center AutoFlux
    • Hourly fluxes sent in real time

Photo Credit: WHOI

Photo credit: Southampton Oceanography Centre

aws application
AWS Application
  • Quality processed AWS data are ideal for evaluation of global reanalysis fluxes (e.g., Smith et al., 2001, J. Climate)
    • Sampling rates allow accurate estimation of 6 hourly integrated fluxes
aws application1
AWS Application
  • R/V-AWS observations have also been used for validating satellite wind sensors (e.g., Bourassa et al., 2003, J. Geophys. Res.)

SeaWinds on Midori

Wind Direction

Wind Speed

final thoughts
Final Thoughts
  • A new initiative is underway to ensure routine delivery of calibrated, quality assured, surface meteorological data collected using AWS on research vessels, volunteer observing ships, and new moored platforms.
  • User input is essential
    • Marine AWS data are a new resource for climatologists
    • Climatologists are asked to provide input to network design
      • Sampling rates, platform locations, parameters desired
  • Second workshop on role of marine AWS in a sustained ocean observing system is planned for 17-18 April 2004 (Silver Spring, MD)
    • Plan to open discussions with user community (modelers, satellite programs, etc.)
    • Discussion will focus on implementation plans, data user needs, and coordination between R/V, VOS, and buoy programs
    • Interested participants should contact ([email protected])
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