Report for the US CLIVAR/CLIVAR Workshop on Ocean Mesoscale Eddy Interactions with the Atmosphere


A US and International CLIVAR workshop, Ocean Mesoscale Eddy Interactions with the Atmosphere, was held on February 17-18, 2018, in Portland, Oregon, USA, with the participation of more than 50 oceanographers and atmospheric scientists from ten nations to assess the state of knowledge about ocean eddy-atmosphere interactions and to plan future research. The workshop addressed three questions: 1) How can we better assess, through direct measurements, eddy interactions with the atmosphere? 2) How do such interactions affect ocean dynamics? And 3) Can eddies, despite their small sizes, influence weather and climate? Summaries and recommendations from this joint US CLIVAR and CLIVAR workshop are captured in the workshop report, which is available at W. Robinson, P. Chang, E. Chassignet and S. Speich from the CLIVAR Atlantic Region Panel (ARP) took the lead to organise this workshop, with the staff support from US CLIVAR and the ICPO.

A consensus emerged from the workshop that eddy-atmosphere interactions are important for the ocean and the atmosphere at space and time scales much larger and longer than that of an individual eddy; we are on the cusp of new modelling and observational results that will show us how all this works. The key recommendations from the workshop included:

  • To leverage upcoming field campaigns, some deploying exciting new observing technologies, to obtain observations of ocean-atmosphere interactions on the ocean-eddy scale
  • To develop and evaluate new models of the atmospheric boundary layer for their use in providing an eddy-responsive upper boundary condition for ocean-sea ice only models
  • To carry out a set of global model experiments, building on the CMIP6 HighResMIP initiative, using spatial filtering of the SST field to explicitly test the influence of ocean eddies on atmospheric weather and climate.

We would like to acknowledge the financial support from NASA, NOAA and NSF through US CLIVAR, and of WCRP for the travel of international participants to this workshop. Meanwhile, we also want to thank the following Early Career Scientists for being rapporteurs in Working Group meetings and plenary discussions:  Sophia Ashby, Qian Li, Paige Martin, Vera Oerder, Rhys Parfitt, and Priya Sharma.