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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 (smith@coaps.fsu.edu)