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Wolfe, CL, Cessi P, Cornuelle BD.  2017.  An intrinsic mode of interannual variability in the Indian Ocean. Journal of Physical Oceanography. 47:701-719.   10.1175/jpo-d-16-0177.1   AbstractWebsite

An intrinsic mode of self-sustained, interannual variability is identified in a coarse-resolution ocean model forced by an annually repeating atmospheric state. The variability has maximumloading in the Indian Ocean, with a significant projection into the South Atlantic Ocean. It is argued that this intrinsic mode is caused by baroclinic instability of the model's Leeuwin Current, which radiates out to the tropical Indian and South Atlantic Oceans as long Rossby waves at a period of 4 yr. This previously undescribed mode has a remarkably narrowband time series. However, the variability is not synchronized with the annual cycle; the phase of the oscillation varies chaotically on decadal time scales. The presence of this internal mode reduces the predictability of the ocean circulation by obscuring the response to forcing or initial condition perturbations. The signature of this mode can be seen in higher-resolution global ocean models driven by high-frequency atmospheric forcing, but altimeter and assimilation analyses do not show obvious signatures of such a mode, perhaps because of insufficient duration.

Sagen, H, Worcester PF, Dzieciuch MA, Geyer F, Sandven S, Babiker M, Beszczynska-Moller A, Dushaw BD, Cornuelle B.  2017.  Resolution, identification, and stability of broadband acoustic arrivals in Fram Strait. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. 141:2055-2068.   10.1121/1.4978780   AbstractWebsite

An ocean acoustic tomography system consisting of three moorings with low frequency, broad-band transceivers and a moored receiver located approximately in the center of the triangle formed by the transceivers was installed in the central, deep-water part of Fram Strait during 2010-2012. Comparisons of the acoustic receptions with predictions based on hydrographic sections show that the oceanographic conditions in Fram Strait result in complex arrival patterns in which it is difficult to resolve and identify individual arrivals. In addition, the early arrivals are unstable, with the arrival structures changing significantly over time. The stability parameter a suggests that the instability is likely not due to small-scale variability, but rather points toward strong mesoscale variability in the presence of a relatively weak sound channel as being largely responsible. The estimator-correlator [Dzieciuch, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 136, 2512-2522 (2014)] is shown to provide an objective formalism for generating travel-time series given the complex propagation conditions. Because travel times obtained from the estimator-correlator are not associated with resolved, identified ray arrivals, inverse methods are needed that do not use sampling kernels constructed from geometric ray paths. One possible approach would be to use travel-time sensitivity kernels constructed for the estimator-correlator outputs. (C) 2017 Author(s). All article content, except where otherwise noted, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license.

Verlinden, CMA, Sarkar J, Cornuelle BD, Kuperman WA.  2017.  Determination of acoustic waveguide invariant using ships as sources of opportunity in a shallow water marine environment. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. 141:EL102-EL107.   10.1121/1.4976112   AbstractWebsite

The waveguide invariant (WGI) is a property that can be used to localize acoustic radiators and extract information about the environment. Here the WGI is determined using ships as sources of opportunity, tracked using the Automatic Identification System (AIS). The relationship between range, acoustic intensity, and frequency for a ship in a known position is used to determine the WGI parameter beta. These b values are interpolated and a map of b is generated. The method is demonstrated using data collected in a field experiment on a single hydrophone in a shallow water environment off the coast of Southern California. (C) 2017 Acoustical Society of America

Ubelmann, C, Cornuelle B, Fu LL.  2016.  Dynamic mapping of along-track ocean altimetry: Method and performance from observing system simulation experiments. Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology. 33:1691-1699.   10.1175/jtech-d-15-0163.1   AbstractWebsite

Simulated along-track ocean altimetry data were used to implement the use of a nonlinear dynamic propagator to perform three-dimensional (time and 2D space) interpolation of mesoscale sea surface height (SSH). The method is an inverse approach to processing altimetry data unevenly sampled in time and space into high-level gridded altimetry maps. The inverse approach, similar to the standard objective mapping, contains some correction terms to the innovation vectors to account for nonlinear dynamics. Another key improvement is to solve for the covariance functions through a Green's function approach. From the Observing System Simulation Experiments carried out to simulate a three-satellite constellation over the Gulf Stream region, the new method can significantly reduce mapping errors and improve the resolving capabilities compared to the standard linear objective analysis such as that used by the AVISO gridding.

Sabra, KG, Cornuelle B, Kuperman WA.  2016.  Sensing deep-ocean temperatures. Physics Today. 69:32-38. AbstractWebsite

Though not yet widely implemented, the technique of monitoring the ocean's warming via changes in the speed of sound through the water is a powerful complement to the more common tools available: free-floating thermometers and altimetry satellites.

Lien, RC, Ma B, Lee CM, Sanford TB, Mensah V, Centurioni LR, Cornuelle BD, Gopalakrishnan G, Gordon AL, Chang MH, Jayne SR, Yang YJ.  2015.  The Kuroshio and Luzon undercurrent east of Luzon Island. Oceanography. 28:54-63.   10.5670/oceanog.2015.81   AbstractWebsite

Current structure, transport, and water mass properties of the northward-flowing Kuroshio and the southward-flowing Luzon Undercurrent (LU) were observed for nearly one year, June 8, 2012-June 4, 2013, across the Kuroshio path at 18.75 degrees N. Observations were made from four platforms: an array of six subsurface ADCP moorings, two Seagliders, fivepressure inverted echo sounders (PIES), and five horizontal electric field (HEF) sensors, providing the most detailed time series of the Kuroshio and Luzon Undercurrent water properties to date. Ocean state estimates of the western boundary current system were performed using the MIT general circulation model-four-dimensional variational assimilation (MITgcm-4D-Var) system. Prominent Kuroshio features from observations are simulated well by the numerical model. Annual mean Kuroshio transport, averaged over all platforms, is similar to 16 Sv with a standard deviation similar to 4 Sv. Kuroshio and LU transports and water mass pathways east of Luzon are revealed by Seaglider measurements. In a layer above the salinity maximum associated with North Pacific Tropical Water (NPTW), Kuroshio transport is similar to 7 Sv and contains North Equatorial Current (NEC) and Western Philippine Sea (WPS) waters, with an insignificant amount of South China Sea water on the shallow western flank. In an intermediate layer containing the core of the NPTW, Kuroshio transport is similar to 10 Sv, consisting mostly of NEC water. In the lower layer of the Kuroshio, transport is similar to 1.5 Sv of mostly North Pacific Intermediate Water (NPIW) as a part of WPS waters. Annual mean Luzon Undercurrent southward transport integrated to 1,000 m depth is similar to 2.7 Sv with a standard deviation similar to 2 Sv, carrying solely WPS waters below the salinity minimum of the NPIW. The transport of the western boundary current integrated over the full ocean depth east of Luzon Island is similar to 14 +/- 4.5 Sv. Sources of the water masses in the Kuroshio and Luzon Undercurrent are confirmed qualitatively by the numerical model.

Schonau, MC, Rudnick DL, Cerovecki I, Gopalakrishnan G, Cornuelle BD, McClean JL, Qiu B.  2015.  The Mindanao Current mean structure and connectivity. Oceanography. 28:34-45.   10.5670/oceanog.2015.79   AbstractWebsite

The Mindanao Current (MC), a low-latitude western boundary current in the Pacific Ocean, plays an important role in heat and freshwater transport to the western Pacific warm pool and the Indian Ocean. However, there have been relatively few comprehensive studies of the structure and variability of the MC and its connectivity to regional circulation. The Origins of the Kuroshio and Mindanao Current (OKMC) initiative combines four years of glider observations of the MC, a historical conductivity-temperature-depth (CTD)/float climatology, and results from a global strongly eddying forward ocean general circulation model simulation and a regional ocean state estimate. The MC is resolved as a strong southward current primarily within the upper 200 m, approaching 1 m s(-1), and extending roughly 300 km offshore of Mindanao. Observations and model simulations show a persistent northward Mindanao Undercurrent (MUC) below the thermocline. The MC transports water masses of North Pacific origin southward, while the MUC carries water with South Pacific characteristics northward. The subthermocline transport of the MC and the MUC is connected to other undercurrents in the Philippine Sea. The variability of this transport is a topic of continuing research.

Qiu, B, Rudnick DL, Cerovecki I, Cornuelle BD, Chen S, Schonau MC, McClean JL, Gopalakrishnan G.  2015.  The Pacific North Equatorial Current: New insights from the Origins of the Kuroshio and Mindanao Currents (OKMC) Project. Oceanography. 28:24-33.   10.5670/oceanog.2015.78   AbstractWebsite

Located at the crossroads of the tropical and subtropical circulations, the westward-flowing North Equatorial Current (NEC) and its subsequent bifurcation off the Philippine coast near 13 degrees N serve as important pathways for heat and water mass exchanges between the mid- and low-latitude North Pacific Ocean. Because the western Pacific warm pool, with sea surface temperatures > 28 degrees C, extends poleward of 17 degrees N in the western North Pacific, the bifurcation and transport partitioning of the NEC into the Kuroshio and Mindanao Currents are likely to affect the temporal evolution of the warm pool through lateral advection. In addition to its influence on physical conditions, NEC variability is also important to the regional biological properties and the fisheries along the Philippine coast and in the western Pacific Ocean. This article synthesizes our current understandings of the NEC, especially those garnered through the recent Origins of the Kuroshio and Mindanao Current (OKMC) project.

Kim, SY, Cornuelle BD.  2015.  Coastal ocean climatology of temperature and salinity off the Southern California Bight: Seasonal variability, climate index correlation, and linear trend. Progress in Oceanography. 138:136-157.   10.1016/j.pocean.2015.08.001   AbstractWebsite

A coastal ocean climatology of temperature and salinity in the Southern California Bight is estimated from conductivity-temperature-depth (CTD) and bottle sample profiles collected by historical California Cooperative Oceanic Fisheries Investigation (CalCOFI) cruises (1950-2009; quarterly after 1984) off southern California and quarterly/monthly nearshore CTD surveys (within 30 km from the coast except for the surfzone; 1999-2009) off San Diego and Los Angeles. As these fields are sampled regularly in space, but not in time, conventional Fourier analysis may not be possible. The time dependent temperature and salinity fields are modeled as linear combinations of an annual cycle and its five harmonics, as well as three standard climate indices (El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO), Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), North Pacific Gyre Oscillation (NPGO)), the Scripps Pier temperature time series, and a mean and linear trend without time lags. Since several of the predictor indices are correlated, the indices are successively orthogonalized to eliminate ambiguity in the identification of the contributed variance of each component. Regression coefficients are displayed in both vertical transects and horizontal maps to evaluate (1) whether the temporal and spatial scales of the two data sets of nearshore and offshore observations are consistent and (2) how oceanic variability at a regional scale is related to variability in the nearshore waters. The data-derived climatology can be used to identify anomalous events and atypical behaviors in regional-scale oceanic variability and to provide background ocean estimates for mapping or modeling. (C) 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Fujii, Y, Cummings J, Xue Y, Schiller A, Lee T, Balmaseda MA, Remy E, Masuda S, Brassington G, Alves O, Cornuelle B, Martin M, Oke P, Smith G, Yang XS.  2015.  Evaluation of the Tropical Pacific Observing System from the ocean data assimilation perspective. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society. 141:2481-2496.   10.1002/qj.2579   AbstractWebsite

The drastic reduction in the number of observation data from the Tropical Atmospheric Ocean (TAO)/Triangle Trans-Ocean Buoy Network (TRITON) array since 2012 has given rise to a need to assess the impact of those data in ocean data assimilation (DA) systems. This article provides a review of existing studies evaluating the impacts of data from the TAO/TRITON array and other components of the Tropical Pacific Observing System (TPOS) on current ocean DA systems used for a variety of operational and research applications. It can be considered as background information that can guide the evaluation exercise of TPOS. Temperature data from TAO/TRITON array are assimilated in most ocean DA systems which cover the tropical Pacific in order to constrain the ocean heat content, stratification, and circulation. It is shown that the impacts of observation data depend considerably on the system and application. The presence of model error often makes the results difficult to interpret. Nevertheless there is consensus that the data from TAO/TRITON generally have positive impacts complementary to Argo floats. In the equatorial Pacific, the impacts are generally around the same level or larger than those of Argo. We therefore conclude that, with the current configuration of TPOS, the loss of the TAO/TRITON data is having a significant detrimental impact on many applications based on ocean DA systems. This conclusion needs to be kept under review because the equatorial coverage by Argo is expected to improve in the future.

Gasparin, F, Roemmich D, Gilson J, Cornuelle B.  2015.  Assessment of the upper-ocean observing system in the equatorial Pacific: The role of Argo in resolving intraseasonal to interannual variability*. Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology. 32:1668-1688.   10.1175/jtech-d-14-00218.1   AbstractWebsite

Using more than 10 years of Argo temperature and salinity profiles (2004-14), a new optimal interpolation (OI) of the upper ocean in the equatorial Pacific is presented. Following Roemmich and Gilson's procedures, which were formulated for describing monthly large-scale anomalies, here every 5 days anomaly fields are constructed with improvements in the OI spatial covariance function and by including the time domain. The comparison of Argo maps with independent observations, from the TAO/TRITON array, and with satellite sea surface height (SSH), demonstrates that Argo is able to represent around 70%-80% of the variance at intraseasonal time scales (periods of 20-100 days) and more than 90% of the variance for the seasonal-to-longer-term variability. The RMS difference between Argo and TAO/TRITON temperatures is lower than 1 degrees C and is around 1.5 cm when the Argo steric height is compared to SSH. This study also assesses the efficacy of different observing system components and combinations, such as SSH, TAO/TRITON, and Argo, for estimating subsurface temperature. Salinity investigations demonstrate its critical importance for density near the surface in the western Pacific. Objective error estimates from the OI are used to evaluate different sampling strategies, such as the recent deployment of 41 Argo floats along the Pacific equator. Argo's high spatial resolution compared with that of the moored array makes it better suited for studying spatial patterns of variability and propagation on intraseasonal and longer periods, but it is less well suited for studying variability on periods shorter than 20 days at point locations. This work is a step toward better utilization of existing datasets, including Argo, and toward redesigning the Tropical Pacific Observing System.

Furue, R, Jia YL, McCreary JP, Schneider N, Richards KJ, Muller P, Cornuelle BD, Avellaneda NM, Stammer D, Liu CY, Kohl A.  2015.  Impacts of regional mixing on the temperature structure of the equatorial Pacific Ocean. Part 1: Vertically uniform vertical diffusion. Ocean Modelling. 91:91-111.   10.1016/j.ocemod.2014.10.002   AbstractWebsite

We investigate the sensitivity of numerical model solutions to regional changes in vertical diffusion. Specifically, we vary the background diffusion coefficient, kappa(b), within spatially distinct subregions of the tropical Pacific, assess the impacts of those changes, and diagnose the processes that account for them. Solutions respond to a diffusion anomaly, delta kappa(b), in three ways. Initially, there is a fast response (several months), due to the interaction of rapidly propagating, barotropic and gravity waves with eddies and other mesoscale features. It is followed by a local response (roughly one year), the initial growth and spatial pattern of which can be explained by one-dimensional (vertical) diffusion. At this stage, temperature and salinity anomalies are generated that are either associated with a change in density ("dynamical" anomalies) or without one ("spiciness" anomalies). In a final adjustment stage, the dynamical and spiciness anomalies spread to remote regions by radiation of Rossby and Kelvin waves and by advection, respectively. In near equilibrium solutions, dynamical anomalies are generally much larger in the latitude band of the forcing, but the impact of off equatorial forcing by delta kappa(b) on the equatorial temperature structure is still significant. Spiciness anomalies spread equator ward within the pycnocline, where they are carried to the equator as part of the subsurface branch of the Pacific Subtropical Cells, and spiciness also extends to the equator via western-boundary currents. Forcing near and at the equator generates strong dynamical anomalies, and sometimes additional spiciness anomalies, at pycnocline depths. The total response of the equatorial temperature structure to delta kappa(b) in various regions depends on the strength and spatial pattern of the generation of each signal within the forcing region as well as On the processes of its spreading to the equator.

Fontan, A, Cornuelle B.  2015.  Anisotropic response of surface circulation to wind forcing, as inferred from high-frequency radar currents in the southeastern Bay of Biscay. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans. 120:2945-2957.   10.1002/2014jc010671   AbstractWebsite

The short-term (less than 20 days) response of surface circulation to wind has been determined in waters of the southeastern Bay of Biscay, using wind impulse response (time domain) and transfer (frequency domain) functions relating high-frequency radar currents and reanalysis winds. The response of surface currents is amplified at the near-inertial frequency and the low-frequency and it varies spatially. The analysis indicates that the response of the ocean to the wind is slightly anisotropic, likely due to pressure gradients and friction induced by the bottom and coastline boundaries in this region. Thus, the transfer function at the near-inertial frequency decreases onshore due to the coastline inhibition of circularly polarized near-inertial motion. In contrast, the low-frequency transfer function is enhanced toward the coast as a result of the geostrophic balance between the cross-shore pressure gradient and the Coriolis forces. The transfer functions also vary with season. In summer, the current response to wind is expected to be stronger but shallower due to stratification; in winter, the larger mixed layer depth results in a weaker but deeper response. The results obtained are consistent with the theoretical description of wind-driven circulation and can be used to develop a statistical model with a broad range of applications including accurate oceanic forecasting and understanding of the coupled atmosphere-ocean influence on marine ecosystems.

Rudnick, DL, Gopalakrishnan G, Cornuelle BD.  2015.  Cyclonic eddies in the Gulf of Mexico: Observations by underwater gliders and simulations by numerical model. Journal of Physical Oceanography. 45:313-326.   10.1175/jpo-d-14-0138.1   AbstractWebsite

Circulation in the Gulf of Mexico (GoM) is dominated by the Loop Current (LC) and by Loop Current eddies (LCEs) that form at irregular multimonth intervals by separation from the LC. Comparatively small cyclonic eddies (CEs) are thought to have a controlling influence on the LCE, including its separation from the LC. Because the CEs are so dynamic and short-lived, lasting only a few weeks, they have proved a challenge to observe. This study addresses that challenge using underwater gliders. These gliders' data and satellite sea surface height (SSH) are used in a four-dimensional variational (4DVAR) assimilation in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) general circulation model (MITgcm). The model serves two purposes: first, the model's estimate of ocean state allows the analysis of four-dimensional fields, and second, the model forecasts are examined to determine the value of glider data. CEs have a Rossby number of about 0.2, implying that the effects of flow curvature, cyclostrophy, to modify the geostrophic momentum balance are slight. The velocity field in CEs is nearly depth independent, while LCEs are more baroclinic, consistent with the CEs origin on the less stratified, dense side of the LCE. CEs are formed from water in the GoM, rather than the Atlantic water that distinguishes the LCE. Model forecasts are improved by glider data, using a quality metric based on satellite SSH, with the best 2-month GoM forecast rivaling the accuracy of a global hindcast.

Edwards, CA, Moore AM, Hoteit I, Cornuelle BD.  2015.  Regional ocean data assimilation. Annual Review of Marine Science, Vol 7. 7:21-42.   10.1146/annurev-marine-010814-015821   AbstractWebsite

This article reviews the past 15 years of developments in regional ocean data assimilation. A variety of scientific, management, and safety-related objectives motivate marine scientists to characterize many ocean environments, including coastal regions. As in weather prediction, the accurate representation of physical, chemical, and/or biological properties in the ocean is challenging. Models and observations alone provide imperfect representations of the ocean state, but together they can offer improved estimates. Variational and sequential methods are among the most widely used in regional ocean systems, and there have been exciting recent advances in ensemble and four-dimensional variational approaches. These techniques are increasingly being tested and adapted for biogeochemical applications.

Mazloff, MR, Gille ST, Cornuelle B.  2014.  Improving the geoid: Combining altimetry and mean dynamic topography in the California coastal ocean. Geophysical Research Letters. 41:8944-8952.   10.1002/2014gl062402   AbstractWebsite

Satellite gravity mapping missions, altimeters, and other platforms have allowed the Earth's geoid to be mapped over the ocean to a horizontal resolution of approximately 100km with an uncertainty of less than 10cm. At finer resolution this uncertainty increases to greater than 10cm. Achieving greater accuracy requires accurate estimates of the dynamic ocean topography (DOT). In this study two DOT estimates for the California Current System with uncertainties less than 10cm are used to solve for a geoid correction field. The derived field increases the consistency between the DOTs and along-track altimetric observations, suggesting it is a useful correction to the gravitational field. The correction is large compared to the dynamic ocean topography, with a magnitude of 15cm and significant structure, especially near the coast. The results are evidence that modern high-resolution dynamic ocean topography products can be used to improve estimates of the geoid.

Orsi, AJ, Cornuelle BD, Severinghaus JP.  2014.  Magnitude and temporal evolution of Dansgaard-Oeschger event 8 abrupt temperature change inferred from nitrogen and argon isotopes in GISP2 ice using a new least-squares inversion. Earth and Planetary Science Letters. 395:81-90.   10.1016/j.epsl.2014.03.030   AbstractWebsite

Polar temperature is often inferred from water isotopes in ice cores. However, non-temperature effects on 3180 are important during the abrupt events of the last glacial period, such as changes in the seasonality of precipitation, the northward movement of the storm track, and the increase in accumulation. These effects complicate the interpretation of 8180 as a temperature proxy. Here, we present an independent surface temperature reconstruction, which allows us to test the relationship between delta O-18(ice) and temperature, during Dansgaard-Oeschger event 8, 38.2 thousand yrs ago using new delta N-15 and delta Ar-40 data from the GISP2 ice core in Greenland. This temperature reconstruction relies on a new inversion of inert gas isotope data using generalized least-squares, and includes a robust uncertainty estimation. We find that both temperature and delta O-18 increased in two steps of 20 and 140 yrs, with an overall amplitude of 11.80 +/- 1.8 degrees C between the stadial and interstadial centennial-mean temperature. The coefficient alpha = d delta O-18/dT changes with each time-segment, which shows that non-temperature sources of fractionation have a significant contribution to the delta O-18 signal. When measured on century-averaged values, we find that alpha = d delta O-18/dT = 0.32 +/- 0.06%(0)/degrees C, which is similar to the glacial/Holocene value of 0.328%(o)/degrees C. (C) 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Verdy, A, Mazloff MR, Cornuelle BD, Kim SY.  2014.  Wind-driven sea level variability on the California coast: An adjoint sensitivity analysis. Journal of Physical Oceanography. 44:297-318.   10.1175/jpo-d-13-018.1   AbstractWebsite

Effects of atmospheric forcing on coastal sea surface height near Port San Luis, central California, are investigated using a regional state estimate and its adjoint. The physical pathways for the propagation of nonlocal [O(100 km)] wind stress effects are identified through adjoint sensitivity analyses, with a cost function that is localized in space so that the adjoint shows details of the propagation of sensitivities. Transfer functions between wind stress and SSH response are calculated and compared to previous work. It is found that (i) the response to local alongshore wind stress dominates on short time scales of O(1 day); (ii) the effect of nonlocal winds dominates on longer time scales and is carried by coastally trapped waves, as well as inertia-gravity waves for offshore wind stress; and (iii) there are significant seasonal variations in the sensitivity of SSH to wind stress due to changes in stratification. In a more stratified ocean, the damping of sensitivities to local and offshore winds is reduced, allowing for a larger and longer-lasting SSH response to wind stress.

Ponte, AL, Cornuelle BD.  2013.  Coastal numerical modelling of tides: Sensitivity to domain size and remotely generated internal tide. Ocean Modelling. 62:17-26.   10.1016/j.ocemod.2012.11.007   AbstractWebsite

The propagation of remotely generated superinertial internal tides constitutes a difficulty for the modelling of regional ocean tidal variability which we illustrate in several ways. First, the M2 tidal solution inside a control region located along the Southern California Bight coastline is monitored while the extent of the numerical domain is increased (up to 512 x 512 km). While the amplitude and phase of sea level averaged over the region is quasi-insensitive to domain size, a steady increase of kinetic energy, predominantly baroclinic, is observed with increasing domain size. The increasing flux of energy into the control region suggests that this trend is explained by the growing contribution from remote generation sites of internal tide which can propagate up to the control region. Increasing viscosities confirms this interpretation by lowering baroclinic energy levels and limiting their rate of increase with domain size. Doubling the grid spacing allows consideration of numerical domains 2 times larger. While the coarse grid has lower energy levels than the finer grid, the rate of energy increase with domain size appears to be slowing for the largest domain of the coarse grid simulations. Forcing the smallest domain with depth-varying tidal boundary conditions from the simulation in the largest domain produces energy levels inside the control region comparable to those in the control region for the largest domain, thereby confirming the feasibility of a nested approach. In contrast, simulations forced with a subinertial tidal constituent (K1) show that when the propagation of internal tide is limited, the control region kinetic energy is mostly barotropic and the magnitudes of variations of the kinetic energy with domain size are reduced. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Hoteit, I, Hoar T, Gopalakrishnan G, Collins N, Anderson J, Cornuelle B, Kohl A, Heimbach P.  2013.  A MITgcm/DART ensemble analysis and prediction system with application to the Gulf of Mexico. Dynamics of Atmospheres and Oceans. 63:1-23.   10.1016/j.dynatmoce.2013.03.002   AbstractWebsite

This paper describes the development of an advanced ensemble Kalman filter (EnKF)-based ocean data assimilation system for prediction of the evolution of the loop current in the Gulf of Mexico (GoM). The system integrates the Data Assimilation Research Testbed (DART) assimilation package with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology ocean general circulation model (MITgcm). The MITgcm/DART system supports the assimilation of a wide range of ocean observations and uses an ensemble approach to solve the nonlinear assimilation problems. The GoM prediction system was implemented with an eddy-resolving 1/10th degree configuration of the MITgcm. Assimilation experiments were performed over a 6-month period between May and October during a strong loop current event in 1999. The model was sequentially constrained with weekly satellite sea surface temperature and altimetry data. Experiments results suggest that the ensemble-based assimilation system shows a high predictive skill in the GoM, with estimated ensemble spread mainly concentrated around the front of the loop current. Further analysis of the system estimates demonstrates that the ensemble assimilation accurately reproduces the observed features without imposing any negative impact on the dynamical balance of the system. Results from sensitivity experiments with respect to the ensemble filter parameters are also presented and discussed. (C) 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Giglio, D, Roemmich D, Cornuelle B.  2013.  Understanding the annual cycle in global steric height. Geophysical Research Letters. 40:4349-4354.   10.1002/grl.50774   AbstractWebsite

Steric variability in the ocean includes diabatic changes in the surface layer due to air-sea buoyancy fluxes and adiabatic changes due to advection, which are dominant in the subsurface ocean. Here the annual signal in subsurface steric height (eta' below 200 db) is computed on a global scale using temperature and salinity profiles from Argo floats. The zonal average of over a season (e.g., eta'(March) - eta'(December)) is compared to the wind-forced vertical advection contribution (Delta eta'(w)) both in the global ocean and in different basins. The results show agreement that extends beyond the tropics. The estimate of Delta eta'(w) is based on the Ekman pumping and assumes that the seasonal vertical velocity is constant over the depth range of interest. This assumption is consistent with annual isopycnal displacements inferred from Argo profiles. The contribution of horizontal advection to Delta eta' is significant in some regions and consistent with differences between Delta eta' and Delta eta'(w).

Gopalakrishnan, G, Cornuelle BD, Hoteit I.  2013.  Adjoint sensitivity studies of loop current and eddy shedding in the Gulf of Mexico. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans. 118:3315-3335.   10.1002/jgrc.20240   AbstractWebsite

Adjoint model sensitivity analyses were applied for the loop current (LC) and its eddy shedding in the Gulf of Mexico (GoM) using the MIT general circulation model (MITgcm). The circulation in the GoM is mainly driven by the energetic LC and subsequent LC eddy separation. In order to understand which ocean regions and features control the evolution of the LC, including anticyclonic warm-core eddy shedding in the GoM, forward and adjoint sensitivities with respect to previous model state and atmospheric forcing were computed using the MITgcm and its adjoint. Since the validity of the adjoint model sensitivities depends on the capability of the forward model to simulate the real LC system and the eddy shedding processes, a 5 year (2004–2008) forward model simulation was performed for the GoM using realistic atmospheric forcing, initial, and boundary conditions. This forward model simulation was compared to satellite measurements of sea-surface height (SSH) and sea-surface temperature (SST), and observed transport variability. Despite realistic mean state, standard deviations, and LC eddy shedding period, the simulated LC extension shows less variability and more regularity than the observations. However, the model is suitable for studying the LC system and can be utilized for examining the ocean influences leading to a simple, and hopefully generic LC eddy separation in the GoM. The adjoint sensitivities of the LC show influences from the Yucatan Channel (YC) flow and Loop Current Frontal Eddy (LCFE) on both LC extension and eddy separation, as suggested by earlier work. Some of the processes that control LC extension after eddy separation differ from those controlling eddy shedding, but include YC through-flow. The sensitivity remains stable for more than 30 days and moves generally upstream, entering the Caribbean Sea. The sensitivities of the LC for SST generally remain closer to the surface and move at speeds consistent with advection by the high-speed core of the current, while sensitivities to SSH generally extend to deeper layers and propagate more slowly. The adjoint sensitivity to relative vorticity deduced from the sensitivities to velocity fields suggests that advection of cyclonic (positive) relative vorticity anomalies from the YC or the LCFEs accelerate the LC eddy separation. Forward model perturbation experiments were performed to complement and check the adjoint sensitivity analysis as well as sampling the predictability and nonlinearity of the LC evolution. The model and its adjoint can be used in four-dimensional variational assimilation (4D-VAR) to produce dynamically consistent ocean state estimates for analysis and forecasts of the circulation of the GoM.

Gopalakrishnan, G, Cornuelle BD, Hoteit I, Rudnick DL, Owens BW.  2013.  State estimates and forecasts of the loop current in the Gulf of Mexico using the MITgcm and its adjoint. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans. 118:3292-3314.   10.1002/jgrc.20239   AbstractWebsite

An ocean state estimate has been developed for the Gulf of Mexico (GoM) using the MIT general circulation model and its adjoint. The estimate has been tested by forecasting loop current (LC) evolution and eddy shedding in the GoM. The adjoint (or four-dimensional variational) method was used to match the model evolution to observations by adjusting model temperature and salinity initial conditions, open boundary conditions, and atmospheric forcing fields. The model was fit to satellite-derived along-track sea surface height, separated into temporal mean and anomalies, and gridded sea surface temperature for 2 month periods. The optimized state at the end of the assimilation period was used to initialize the forecast for 2 months. Forecasts explore practical LC predictability and provide a cross-validation test of the state estimate by comparing it to independent future observations. The model forecast was tested for several LC eddy separation events, including Eddy Franklin in May 2010 during the deepwater horizon oil spill disaster in the GoM. The forecast used monthly climatological open boundary conditions, atmospheric forcing, and run-off fluxes. The model performance was evaluated by computing model-observation root-mean-square difference (rmsd) during both the hindcast and forecast periods. The rmsd metrics for the forecast generally outperformed persistence (keeping the initial state fixed) and reference (forecast initialized using assimilated Hybrid Coordinate Ocean Model 1/12° global analysis) model simulations during LC eddy separation events for a period of 1̃2 months.

Roux, P, Kuperman WA, Cornuelle BD, Aulanier F, Hodgkiss WS, Song HC.  2013.  Analyzing sound speed fluctuations in shallow water from group-velocity versus phase-velocity data representation. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. 133:1945-1952.   10.1121/1.4792354   AbstractWebsite

Data collected over more than eight consecutive hours between two source-receiver arrays in a shallow water environment are analyzed through the physics of the waveguide invariant. In particular, the use of vertical arrays on both the source and receiver sides provides source and receiver angles in addition to travel-times associated with a set of eigenray paths in the waveguide. From the travel-times and the source-receiver angles, the eigenrays are projected into a group-velocity versus phase-velocity (Vg-Vp) plot for each acquisition. The time evolution of the Vg-Vp representation over the 8.5-h long experiment is discussed. Group speed fluctuations observed for a set of eigenrays with turning points at different depths in the water column are compared to the Brunt-Vaisala frequency. (C) 2013 Acoustical Society of America.

Subramanian, AC, Miller AJ, Cornuelle BD, Di Lorenzo E, Weller RA, Straneo F.  2013.  A data assimilative perspective of oceanic mesoscale eddy evolution during VOCALS-REx. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. 13:3329-3344.   10.5194/acp-13-3329-2013   AbstractWebsite

Oceanic observations collected during the VOCALS-REx cruise time period, 1-30 November 2008, are assimilated into a regional ocean model (ROMS) using 4DVAR and then analyzed for their dynamics. Nonlinearities in the system prevent a complete 30-day fit, so two 15-day fits for 1-15 November and 16-30 November are executed using the available observations of hydrographic temperature and salinity, along with satellite fields of SST and sea-level height anomaly. The fits converge and reduce the cost function significantly, and the results indicated that ROMS is able to successfully reproduce both large-scale and smaller-scale features of the flows observed during the VOCALS-REx cruise. Particular attention is focused on an intensively studied eddy at 76 degrees W, 19 degrees S. The ROMS fits capture this eddy as an isolated rotating 3-D vortex with a strong subsurface signature in velocity, temperature and anomalously low salinity. The eddy has an average temperature anomaly of approximately -0.5 degrees C over a depth range from 50-600 m and features a cold anomaly of approximately -1 degrees C near 150 m depth. The eddy moves northwestward and elongates during the second 15-day fit. It exhibits a strong signature in the Okubo-Weiss parameter, which indicates significant non-linearity in its evolution. The heat balance for the period of the cruise from the ocean state estimate reveals that the horizontal advection and the vertical mixing processes are the dominant terms that balance the temperature tendency of the upper layer of the ocean locally in time and space. Areal averages around the eddies, for a 15-day period during the cruise, suggest that vertical mixing processes generally balance the surface heating. Although, this indicates only a small role for lateral advective processes in this region during this period, this quasi-instantaneous heat budget analysis cannot be extended to interpret the seasonal or long-term upper ocean heat budget in this region.