Comparison and Sensitivity of ODASI Ocean Analyses in the Tropical Pacific

Sun, Chaojiao; Rienecker, Michele M.; Rosati, Anthony; Harrison, Matthew; Wittenberg, Andrew; Keppenne, Christian L.; Jacob, Jossy P.; Kovach, Robin M.
June 2007
Monthly Weather Review;Jun2007, Vol. 135 Issue 6, p2242
Academic Journal
Two global ocean analyses from 1993 to 2001 have been generated by the Global Modeling and Assimilation Office (GMAO) and Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL), as part of the Ocean Data Assimilation for Seasonal-to-Interannual Prediction (ODASI) consortium efforts. The ocean general circulation models (OGCM) and assimilation methods in the analyses are different, but the forcing and observations are the same as designed for ODASI experiments. Global expendable bathythermograph and Tropical Atmosphere Ocean (TAO) temperature profile observations are assimilated. The GMAO analysis also assimilates synthetic salinity profiles based on climatological T–S relationships from observations (denoted “TS scheme”). The quality of the two ocean analyses in the tropical Pacific is examined here. Questions such as the following are addressed: How do different assimilation methods impact the analyses, including ancillary fields such as salinity and currents? Is there a significant difference in interpretation of the variability from different analyses? How does the treatment of salinity impact the analyses? Both GMAO and GFDL analyses reproduce the time mean and variability of the temperature field compared with assimilated TAO temperature data, taking into account the natural variability and representation errors of the assimilated temperature observations. Surface zonal currents at 15 m from the two analyses generally agree with observed climatology. Zonal current profiles from the analyses capture the intensity and variability of the Equatorial Undercurrent (EUC) displayed in the independent acoustic Doppler current profiler data at three TAO moorings across the equatorial Pacific basin. Compared with independent data from TAO servicing cruises, the results show that 1) temperature errors are reduced below the thermocline in both analyses; 2) salinity errors are considerably reduced below the thermocline in the GMAO analysis; and 3) errors in zonal currents from both analyses are comparable. To discern the impact of the forcing and salinity treatment, a sensitivity study is undertaken with the GMAO assimilation system. Additional analyses are produced with a different forcing dataset, and another scheme to modify the salinity field is tested. This second scheme updates salinity at the time of temperature assimilation based on model T–S relationships (denoted “T scheme”). The results show that both assimilated field (i.e., temperature) and fields that are not directly observed (i.e., salinity and currents) are impacted. Forcing appears to have more impact near the surface (above the core of the EUC), while the salinity treatment is more important below the surface that is directly influenced by forcing. Overall, the TS scheme is more effective than the T scheme in correcting model bias in salinity and improving the current structure. Zonal currents from the GMAO control run where no data are assimilated are as good as the best analysis.


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