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Improvements to estimating the air–sea gas transfer velocity by using dual-frequency, altimeter backscatter

Goddijn-Murphy, Lonneke, Woolf, David K., Chapron, Bertrand, Queffeulou, Pierre
Remote sensing of environment 2013 v.139 pp. 1-5
gas exchange, remote sensing, satellites, surface roughness, wind speed
Air–sea gas exchange is affected by sea surface roughness and a previous study shows a significant relation between Ku-band backscattering from satellite altimeters and field estimates of gas transfer velocity, K. Recently C-band backscatter data were made available for altimeters on board the JASON-1 and JASON-2 satellites. In this paper we used experimental data from the same cruises to show that using the difference between the Ku-band and C-band signals to estimate sea surface roughness, and thus reducing the contribution from longer waves, improved the K estimates. This is consistent with the theory that gas transfer is largely controlled by short capillary-gravity waves. For satellite data closer than 2hr and 0.5° from the K sample stations, the dual-frequency parameterization is found to perform better than a wind speed parameterization that uses in situ wind speed. The improvement supports the hypothesis that gas transfer is more directly related to surface roughness than to surface wind.