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Preliminary and novel estimates of CO2 gas transfer using a satellite scatterometer during the 2001GasEx experiment

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The ocean takes up approximately 30% of the annual anthropogenic emissions of CO2. However, the air-sea exchange of carbon dioxide varies by a factor of 2 depending on the formulation of the exchange process. This considerable uncertainty is due in part to the difficulty in parameterizing the gas transfer velocity, k660, usually given as a function of wind speed. Recent field data showed that parametrization using the mean square slope of small scale surface waves provides a more robust strategy to estimate gas transfer (Frew et al. 2004). Here we present a preliminary estimation of the gas transfer velocity as a function of upwind Normalized Radar Cross-Section (NRCS) as measured by the scatterometer QuikSCAT. The gas transfer velocity calculated from upwind NRCS exhibits a quadratic-like dependence at low and intermediate wind speeds (≃6 ms-1 ). This approach represents a promising new tool to obtain global quasi-synoptic estimates of oceanic uptake of CO2.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: RSMAS, University of Miami, Miami, FL, USA 2: Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California, USA 3: Graduate School of Oceanography, University of Rhode Island, Narragansett, Rhode Island, USA

Publication date: March 1, 2010

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