Articles | Volume 9, issue 6
Ocean Sci., 9, 977–986, 2013

Special issue: Earth Observation for Ocean-Atmosphere Interactions Science...

Ocean Sci., 9, 977–986, 2013

Research article 19 Nov 2013

Research article | 19 Nov 2013

Near-surface diurnal warming simulations: validation with high resolution profile measurements

B. Scanlon1, G. A. Wick2, and B. Ward1 B. Scanlon et al.
  • 1School of Physics and Ryan Institute, National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland
  • 2NOAA ESRL PSD, 325 Broadway Boulder, CO 80305, USA

Abstract. Sea surface temperature (SST) is an important property for governing the exchange of energy between the ocean and the atmosphere. Common in situ methods of measuring SST often require a cool-skin and warm-layer adjustment in the presence of diurnal warming effects. A critical requirement for an ocean submodel is that it can simulate the change in SST over diurnal, seasonal and annual cycles. In this paper we use high-resolution near-surface profiles of SST to validate simulated near-surface temperature profiles from a modified version of the Kantha and Clayson 1-D mixed-layer model. Additional model enhancements such as the incorporation of a more recent parameterization of turbulence generated by wave breaking and a recent solar absorption model are also validated. The model simulations show a strong variability in highly stratified conditions, with different models providing the best results depending on the specific criteria and conditions. In general, the models with enhanced wave breaking effects provided underestimated temperature profiles while the more coarse baseline and blended approaches produced the most accurate SST estimates.