GODAE inter-comparisons in the Tasman and Coral Seas
Oke, PR and Brassington, GB and Cummings, J and Martin, M and Hernandez, F, GODAE inter-comparisons in the Tasman and Coral Seas, Journal of Operational Oceanography, 5, (2) pp. 11-24. ISSN 1755-876X (2012) [Refereed Article]
This paper compares the performance of operational short-range ocean forecast systems developed under the Global Ocean Data Assimilation Experiment (GODAE) – an international effort to demonstrate the feasibility of operational ocean forecasting. ‘Best estimates’ from four different operational forecast systems (either analyses, hindcasts, or nowcasts) are inter-compared for the Tasman and Coral Seas, off eastern Australia. Systems considered include those developed in Australia, France, the USA, and the UK. Each system is compared to observations of along-track sea-level anomaly, sea-surface temperature, near-surface velocity, and sub-surface temperature and salinity. All have their strengths and weaknesses, and each system out-performs all others in one aspect or another. With few exceptions, all systems demonstrate signal-to-noise ratios greater than one for all variables. Due to the Australian focus, in addition to the best estimates from the operational systems, operational forecasts and a delayed-mode reanalysis are also inter-compared using the Australian system. The Australian system generally performs the best for sea-level anomaly; the French system is best for near-surface velocities; the USA system generally performs the best for sea-surface temperature; and the UK system is best for sub-surface temperature and salinity. These findings provide useful indicators of deficiencies in each system and clear metrics by which future developments should be assessed. Based on these results and other practical considerations the adoption of multimodel consensus forecasting, using all available forecasts from all systems, is promoted as the most robust approach for the user community. Such developments are being pursued under GODAE OceanView – the successor to GODAE. The results show the success of GODAE in demonstrating the feasibility of operational oceanography.