The properties of the mixed layer are important for atmosphere-ocean interactions. For the tropical Atlantic it has been shown, e.g., that the temperature of the ocean has a significant impact on the rainfall over the adjacent continents (Hastenrath and Heller, 1977; Moura and Shuckla, 1981; Enfield and Alfaro, 1999; Enfield et al., 2001; Jury et al., 2002; Taylor et al, 2002).
Up to now free coupled ocean-atmosphere models in the tropical Atlantic do not produce a realistic oceanic mixed layer. A joint analysis of observations in the ocean in cunjunction with surface fluxes can help reduce such discrepancies.
This requires estimation of the mixed layer properties from oceanicobservations that can be used in the derivation of the mixed layer heat balance.