Ocean Surface Wind Velocity

The objective of this project is to create a cross-calibrated, multi-platform, multi-instrument ocean surface wind velocity data set, for the period extending from 1987 through 2007, with wide ranging research applications in meteorology and oceanography. Satellite retrieved ocean surface wind data created under the DISCOVER REASoN project are combined using a variational analysis to produce a consistent climatological record of ocean surface winds. Assimilated data sets include Special Sensor Microwave/Imager (SSM/I), Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer - EOS (AMSR-E), Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) Microwave Imager (TMI), Quikscat, SeaWinds and other missions.


This project represents a continuation and expansion of the SSM/I surface wind velocity data set that we began under the NASA Pathfinder Program. This project expands upon the Pathfinder dataset significantly by (1) increasing the horizontal resolution from 1 degree to .25 degrees, (2) combining space-based wind observations from all available (passive and active microwave) sources, and (3) by extending the data set through 2007. This will be the first consistent, cross calibrated, multi-platform 20-year ocean surface wind velocity data set for atmospheric and oceanic research and for improved weather and short-term climate prediction.

Consistent oceanic surface wind data of high quality and high temporal and spatial resolution are required to understand and predict the large scale air-sea interactions which influence both the atmosphere and ocean. Such observations are needed to drive ocean models and surface wave models, calculate surface fluxes of heat, moisture and momentum, provide initial data and verification data for atmospheric models, and construct surface climatologies.

Surface wind stress provides the most important forcing of the ocean circulation, while the fluxes of heat, moisture and momentum across the air-sea boundary are important factors in the formation, movement, and modification of water masses and the intensification of storms near coasts and over the open oceans. In addition, air-sea interaction plays a major role in theories of ENSO and the 50-day oscillation, as well as in the initiation and maintenance of heat waves and drought and other persistent anomalies.

- visit the Ocean Surface Wind Velocity site


Joseph Ardizzone, PI, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
Robert Atlas, co-PI, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Library
Ross Hoffman, co-PI, Atmospheric and Environmental Research, Inc.
Mark Leidner, ci-PI, AER

Last Updated: Nov 15, 2017 at 10:34 AM EST