Oceanography The Official Magazine of
The Oceanography Society
Volume 26 Issue 01

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Volume 26, No. 1
Pages 48 - 57


Surpact: A SMOS Surface Wave Rider for Air-Sea Interaction

By Gilles Reverdin , Simon Morisse, Denis Bourras , Nicolas Martin , Antonio Lourenço, Jacqueline Boutin , Christophe Caudoux, Jordi Font , and Joaquín Salvador  
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Article Abstract

A new small wave rider called Surpact was developed for air-sea investigations. It was designed to attach to a drifter or a mooring and to float upon the surface waves in order to measure sea state and atmospheric sea level pressure as well as temperature and salinity at a small fixed depth from the surface. Wind speed is derived from Surpact sea state measurements, and the data are calibrated with co-located Special Sensor Microwave Imager Sounder (SSMIS) wind retrievals during a four-month deployment in the North Atlantic subtropics. Individual 15-minute wind estimates present a root mean square difference on the order of 15% with the SSMIS wind retrievals for wind speeds less than 12 m s–1. The wind retrievals might lag the actual wind changes for moderate to strong winds by an hour. This article discusses the accuracy of these wind retrievals based on in situ data collected during the Strasse cruise in August and September 2012. Temperature and salinity data are also examined. The authors find, under some sunny conditions, radiative warming of the temperature probe reduces the accuracy of some of the daytime temperature data and also affects corresponding salinity estimates. Nonetheless, small realistic daily cycles of near-surface salinity (0.01 psu amplitude) were observed. Also, examples of wind time series collected during salinity drops caused by rainfall during late 2012 in the North Atlantic subtropics indicate no intensification of wind during these rain events.


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