The ECMWF Ocean Analysis System: ORA-S3

Balmaseda, Magdalena A.; Vidard, Arthur; Anderson, David L. T.
August 2008
Monthly Weather Review;Aug2008, Vol. 136 Issue 8, p3018
Academic Journal
A new operational ocean analysis/reanalysis system (ORA-S3) has been implemented at ECMWF. The reanalysis, started from 1 January 1959, is continuously maintained up to 11 days behind real time and is used to initialize seasonal forecasts as well as to provide a historical representation of the ocean for climate studies. It has several innovative features, including an online bias-correction algorithm, the assimilation of salinity data on temperature surfaces, and the assimilation of altimeter-derived sea level anomalies and global sea level trends. It is designed to reduce spurious climate variability in the resulting ocean reanalysis due to the nonstationary nature of the observing system, while still taking advantage of the observation information. The new analysis system is compared with the previous operational version; the equatorial temperature biases are reduced and equatorial currents are improved. The impact of assimilation in the ocean state is discussed by diagnosis of the assimilation increment and bias correction terms. The resulting analysis not only improves the fit to the data, but also improves the representation of the interannual variability. In addition to the basic analysis, a real-time analysis is produced (RT-S3). This is needed for monthly forecasts and in the future may be needed for shorter-range forecasts. It is initialized from the near-real-time ORA-S3 and run each day from it.


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