Near-Sea Surface Temperature Stratification from SVP Drifters

This study describes how the hull temperature (Ttop) measurements from multisensor surface velocity program (SVP) drifters can be combined with other measurements to provide quantitative information on near-surface vertical temperature stratification during large daily cycles. First, Ttop is compared to the temperature measured at 17 -cm depth from a float tethered to the SVP drifter. These 2007-12 SVP drifters present a larger daily cycle by 1%-3% for 1 degrees-2 degrees C daily cycle amplitudes, with a maximum difference close to the local noon. The difference could result from flow around the SVP drifter in the presence of temperature stratification in the top 20 cm of the water column but also from a small influence of internal drifter temperature on Ttop. The largest differences were found for small drifters (Technocean) for very large daily cycles, as expected from their shallower measurements. The vertical stratification is estimated by comparing these hull data with the deeper T or conductivity C measurements from Sea-Bird sensors 25 (Pacific Gyre) to 45 cm (MetOcean) below the top temperature sensor. The largest stratification is usually found near local noon and early afternoon. For a daily cycle amplitude of 1 degrees C, these differences with the upper level are in the range of 3%-5% of the daily cycle for the Pacific Gyre drifters and 6%-10% for MetOcean drifters with the largest values occurring when the midday sun elevation is lowest. The relative differences increase for larger daily cycles, and the vertical profiles become less linear. These estimated stratifications are well above the uncertainty on Ttop.


Sea surface temperature, Buoy observations

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Reverdin Gilles, Morisset S., Bellenger H., Boutin J., Martin N., Blouch P., Rolland Jean, Gaillard Fabienne, Bouruet-Aubertot P., Ward B. (2013). Near-Sea Surface Temperature Stratification from SVP Drifters. Journal Of Atmospheric And Oceanic Technology. 30 (8). 1867-1883.,

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