Four-year averages of 25-km resolution measurements of near-surface wind speed and direction over the global ocean from the QuikSCAT satellite radar scatterometer reveal the existence of surprisingly persistent small-scale features in the dynamically and thermodynamically important curl and divergence of the wind stress. Air-sea interaction over sea-surface temperature fronts throughout the world ocean is evident in both fields, as are the influences of islands and coastal mountains. Ocean currents such as the Gulf Stream generate distinctive patterns in the curl field. These previously unresolved features have important implications for oceanographic and air-sea interaction research.
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