Climate Data

OAFlux: Objectively Analyzed air-sea Fluxes for the global oceans.

"The OAFlux project aims to provide consistent, multi-decade, global analysis of air-sea heat, freshwater (evaporation), and momentum fluxes for use in studies of global energy budget, water cycle, atmosphere and ocean circulation, and climate. The OAFlux project is so called because it applies objective analysis approach to take into account data errors in the development of enhanced global flux fields. The objective analysis denotes the process of synthesizing measurements/estimates from various sources. Such process reduces error in each input data source and produces an estimate that has the minimum error variance. The OAFlux project uses the objective analysis to obtain optimal estimates of flux-related surface meteorology and then computes the global fluxes by using the state-of-the-art bulk flux parameterizations. "(  The OAFlux products are created from an optimal blending of satellite retrievals and three atmospheric analyses.

Key Strengths:

  • Error estimates are provided for all variables except for net heat surface flux, short wave and long wave radiation

Technical Notes

The OAFlux products are determined from using the best-possible estimates of flux-related surface meteorology and the state-of-the-art bulk flux parameterizations (Yu et a. 2008, make a link to the online technical report). - The best possible estimates for flux-related surface meteorological variables are obtained by applying an advanced objective analysis that seeks optimal synthesis of satellite and NWP data sources (Note that the present satellite observing capacity cannot provide direct measurements of near-surface air and humidity, and hence auxiliary datasets have to be supplied to fill the missing data sets). - The latent and sensible heat flux estimates are computed from the objectively analyzed surface meteorological variables by using the COARE bulk flux algorithm 3.0 (Fairall et al. 2003). []

Years of Record

1958/01 to 2012/12
temporal metadataID:



Daily | Monthly

Data Time Period Extended?

yes, data set is extended


Spatial Resolution


Ocean or Land

Ocean Only

Vertical Levels

Input Data

satellite, reanalysis data

Data Access: Please Cite data sources, following the data providers' instructions.

  1. Yu, L., X. Jin, and R. A. Weller, 2008: Multidecade Global Flux Datasets from the Objectively Analyzed Air-sea Fluxes (OAFlux) Project: Latent and sensible heat fluxes, ocean evaporation, and related surface meteorological variables. Woods Hole Oceanograp
  2. Yu, L., and R. A. Weller, 2007: Objectively Analyzed air-sea heat Fluxes for the global oce-free oceans (1981โ€“2005). Bull. Ameri. Meteor. Soc., 88, 527โ€“539
  3. Fairall, C. W., E. F. Bradley, J. E. Hare, A. A. Grachev, and J. B. Edson (2003), Bulk parameterization of air-sea fluxes: Updates and verification for the COARE algorithm, J. Clim., 16, 571โ€“591

Key Figures

Click the thumbnails to view larger sizes



Climate Data Guide Image: OAFlux OAFlux: annual mean latent heat flux for 2011. (
Climate Data Guide Image: OAFlux OAFlux: annual mean sensible heat flux for 2011. (
Climate Data Guide Image: OAFlux OAFlux: annual mean evaporation for 2011. (
Climate Data Guide Image: OAFlux OAFlux: Sample of the yet to be released wind derived products. The figure shows mean winds and winn stress curl for 2 periods. (

Cite this page

National Center for Atmospheric Research Staff (Eds). Last modified 27 Mar 2014. "The Climate Data Guide: OAFlux: Objectively Analyzed air-sea Fluxes for the global oceans.." Retrieved from

Acknowledgement of any material taken from this page is appreciated. On behalf of experts who have contributed data, advice, and/or figures, please cite their work as well.