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Demonstrating the complementarity of observations in an operational ocean forecasting system


Lea, DJ and Martin, MJ and Oke, PR, Demonstrating the complementarity of observations in an operational ocean forecasting system, Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, 140, (683) pp. 2037-2049. ISSN 0035-9009 (2014) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2013 Royal Meteorological Society and Crown Copyright, Met Office

DOI: doi:10.1002/qj.2281


We have performed a series of near-real-time observing system experiments with FOAM, the Met Office operational ocean forecasting system. These were conducted in parallel to the operational suite and identical to it except that certain observation types were excluded. At the start of each month the parallel system was reset to the operational restart and a run started with a different observation type excluded: in February -XBT; March -TAO/TRITON; April -Jason-2 altimeter; May -all altimeter; June -AVHRR sea-surface temperature (SST) data; and July -Argo data. We show that the existing ocean observing systems offer a good deal of complementary information. All components of the observing system offer unique, independent information that help initialise, and improve, operational ocean forecasts. Withholding XBTs causes little impact on globally averaged metrics, for example RMS innovations. However, locally we see long-lasting temperature impacts (∼1 C) near XBT transects. Withholding TAO/TRITON data has a regional impact increasing the tropical Pacific RMS temperature and salinity innovations by 39 and 60%, respectively. Withholding Jason-2 data results in a global 4% increase in the RMS sea-surface height (SSH) innovations, and small-scale changes in temperature and salinity of about 2 C at 100 m depth, and ∼0.2 psu near the surface. Withholding all altimeter data leads to a 16% increase of the RMS SSH innovations. We also see changes in other model variables similar in magnitude to those from withholding Jason-2, but more widespread. Withholding AVHRR SST data produces significant changes around 1 C in model temperature at the surface and within the surface mixed layer, but there is little or no effect below this. Withholding Argo data for 1 month leads to a 5% increase in the temperature and salinity innovations, and changes in SSH of up to 5 cm.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:data assimilation, GODAE oceanview, observing, ocean, OSE
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Oceanography
Research Field:Physical oceanography
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Marine systems and management
Objective Field:Oceanic processes (excl. in the Antarctic and Southern Ocean)
UTAS Author:Oke, PR (Dr Peter Oke)
ID Code:119523
Year Published:2014
Web of Science® Times Cited:34
Deposited By:Oceans and Cryosphere
Deposited On:2017-08-02
Last Modified:2017-09-27

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