Air-sea fluxes represent exchange mechanisms between the ocean and the atmosphere and include momentum fluxes (winds), heat fluxes (radiation, sensible and latent heat fluxes) as well as trace gas fluxes (pCO2).
We propose a unified study of these fluxes focusing on the energy, water and carbon cycles in the Mediterranean Sea region under present and future climate conditions.
To achieve this goal we will firstly use in situ measurements and satellite estimates of the fluxes and the fields they are derived from (sea surface temperature and salinity, surface winds, air humidity, air temperature, cloudiness) and describe flux variability at scales that range from daily to interannual and from local to continental. We will then evaluate the uncertainties in the satellite estimates compared to in situ measurements and finally we will assess model fidelity against both observations and satellite data. A hierarchy of models of the Mediterranean Sea circulation will be used with different discretizations and coupling methods to the atmosphere in order to simulate present and future scenario air-sea interaction cycles under changing climate conditions.
The observational and model data analysis will rely on advanced statistical techniques such as clustering and statistical downscaling. Clustering will describe the dynamical regimes that govern the air-sea exchanges and statistical downscaling will complement the dynamical downscaling modeling experiments.
The Mediterranean Sea region has already experienced large shifts in the interaction between atmosphere and ocean particularly in the hydrological cycle as documented in the IPCC AR4. At the same time, the Mediterranean Sea through its outflow to the world ocean affects the global thermohaline circulation and plays an important role in the global climate feedbacks. This study will combine measurements, numerical models and statistical tools to assess and extrapolate this role into the future.
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