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Ocean-Atmosphere Interaction in Climate ChangesThe diagram, which attests the El Nino teleconnection observed by the NASA Scatterometer (NSCAT) in 1997, is an example of the results of our research in air-sea interaction - the core component of our three-part contribution to the Climate Variability Program. We have established an interplay among scientific research, which turns spacebased data into knowledge, a push in instrument technology, which improves observations of climate variability, and an information system, which produces and disseminates new data to support our scientific research. Timothy Liu led the proposal for advanced technology, in response to the NASA Post-2002 Request for Information. The sensor was identified as a possible mission for continuous ocean surface wind measurement at higher spatial resolution, and with the unique capability to measure ocean surface salinity. He is participating in the Instrument Incubator Program to improve the antenna technology, and is initiating a study to integrate the concept on Japanese missions. He and his collaborators have set up a system to produce and disseminate high level (gridded) ocean surface wind/stress data from NSCAT and European missions. The data system is being expanded to produce real-time gridded ocean surface winds from Quikscat, and precipitation and evaporation from the Tropical Rain Measuring Mission. It will form the basis for a spacebased data analysis system which will include momentum, heat and water fluxes. The study on 1997 El Nino teleconnection illustrates our interdisciplinary and multisensor approach to study climate variability. The diagram shows that the collapse of trade wind and the westerly wind anomalies in the central equatorial Pacific led to the equatorial ocean warming. The equatorial wind anomalies are connected to the anomalous cyclonic wind pattern in the northeast Pacific. The anomalous warming along the west coast of the United States is the result of the movement of the pre-existing warm sea surface temperature anomalies with the cyclonic wind anomalies toward the coast. The results led to a new study which identifies decadal ocean variations in the Northeast Pacific. Three studies of oceanic responses to wind forcing caused by the seasonal change of monsoons, the passage of a typhoon, and the 1997 El Nino, were successfully conducted. Besides wind forcing, we continue to examine new techniques for estimating thermal and hydrologic fluxes, through the inverse ocean mixed-layer model, through divergence of atmospheric water transport, and by direct retrieval from radiances observed by microwave radiometers. Greenhouse warming has been linked to water vapor measured by two spaceborne sensors in two studies. In the first study, strong baroclinicity and deep convection were found to transport water vapor to the upper atmosphere and increase greenhouse trapping over the storm tracks of the North Pacific and Atlantic. In another study, the annual cycle of greenhouse warming were related to sea surface temperature (SST) and integrated water vapor, and the latitudinal dependence of the magnitudes and phases of the annual cycles were compared.
Document ID
Document Type
Liu, W. Timothy (Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA United States)
Date Acquired
August 19, 2013
Publication Date
April 1, 1999
Publication Information
Publication: Climate Variability Program
Subject Category
Environment Pollution
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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IDRelationTitle20000070362Analytic PrimaryClimate Variability Program