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Moore, AM, Martini MJ, Akella S, Arango HG, Balmaseda M, Bertino L, Ciavatta S, Cornuelle B, Cummings J, Frolov S, Lermusiaux P, Oddo P, Oke PR, Storto A, Teruzzi A, Vidard A, Weaver AT, Assimilation GOVD.  2019.  Synthesis of ocean observations using data assimilation for operational, real-time and reanalysis systems: A more complete picture of the state of the ocean. Frontiers in Marine Science. 6   10.3389/fmars.2019.00090   AbstractWebsite

Ocean data assimilation is increasingly recognized as crucial for the accuracy of real-time ocean prediction systems and historical re-analyses. The current status of ocean data assimilation in support of the operational demands of analysis, forecasting and reanalysis is reviewed, focusing on methods currently adopted in operational and real-time prediction systems. Significant challenges associated with the most commonly employed approaches are identified and discussed. Overarching issues faced by ocean data assimilation are also addressed, and important future directions in response to scientific advances, evolving and forthcoming ocean observing systems and the needs of stakeholders and downstream applications are discussed.

Mazloff, MR, Cornuelle BD, Gille ST, Verdy A.  2018.  Correlation lengths for estimating the large-scale carbon and heat content of the Southern Ocean. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans. 123:883-901.   10.1002/2017jc013408   AbstractWebsite

The spatial correlation scales of oceanic dissolved inorganic carbon, heat content, and carbon and heat exchanges with the atmosphere are estimated from a realistic numerical simulation of the Southern Ocean. Biases in the model are assessed by comparing the simulated sea surface height and temperature scales to those derived from optimally interpolated satellite measurements. While these products do not resolve all ocean scales, they are representative of the climate scale variability we aim to estimate. Results show that constraining the carbon and heat inventory between 35 degrees S and 70 degrees S on time-scales longer than 90 days requires approximately 100 optimally spaced measurement platforms: approximately one platform every 20 degrees longitude by 6 degrees latitude. Carbon flux has slightly longer zonal scales, and requires a coverage of approximately 30 degrees by 6 degrees. Heat flux has much longer scales, and thus a platform distribution of approximately 90 degrees by 10 degrees would be sufficient. Fluxes, however, have significant subseasonal variability. For all fields, and especially fluxes, sustained measurements in time are required to prevent aliasing of the eddy signals into the longer climate scale signals. Our results imply a minimum of 100 biogeochemical-Argo floats are required to monitor the Southern Ocean carbon and heat content and air-sea exchanges on time-scales longer than 90 days. However, an estimate of formal mapping error using the current Argo array implies that in practice even an array of 600 floats (a nominal float density of about 1 every 7 degrees longitude by 3 degrees latitude) will result in nonnegligible uncertainty in estimating climate signals.

Verdy, A, Cornuelle B, Mazloff MR, Rudnick DL.  2017.  Estimation of the tropical Pacific Ocean state 2010-13. Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology. 34:1501-1517.   10.1175/jtech-d-16-0223.1   AbstractWebsite

A data-assimilating 1/38 regional dynamical ocean model is evaluated on its ability to synthesize components of the Tropical Pacific Ocean Observing System. The four-dimensional variational data assimilation (4DVAR) method adjusts initial conditions and atmospheric forcing for overlapping 4-month model runs, or hindcasts, that are then combined to give an ocean state estimate for the period 2010-13. Consistency within uncertainty with satellite SSH and Argo profiles is achieved. Comparison to independent observations from Tropical Atmosphere Ocean (TAO) moorings shows that for time scales shorter than 100 days, the state estimate improves estimates of TAO temperature relative to an optimally interpolated Argo product. The improvement is greater at time scales shorter than 20 days, although unpredicted variability in the TAO temperatures implies that TAO observations provide significant information in that band. Larger discrepancies between the state estimate and independent observations from Spray gliders deployed near the Galapagos, Palau, and Solomon Islands are attributed to insufficient model resolution to capture the dynamics in strong current regions and near coasts. The sea surface height forecast skill of the model is assessed. Model forecasts using climatological forcing and boundary conditions are more skillful than climatology out to 50 days compared to persistence, which is a more skillful forecast than climatology out to approximately 20 days. Hindcasts using reanalysis products for atmospheric forcing and open boundary conditions are more skillful than climatology for approximately 120 days or longer, with the exact time scale depending on the accuracy of the state estimate used for initializing and on the reanalysis forcing. Estimating the model representational error is a goal of these experiments.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Song, H, Miller AJ, Cornuelle BD, Di Lorenzo E.  2011.  Changes in upwelling and its water sources in the California Current System driven by different wind forcing. Dynamics of Atmospheres and Oceans. 52:170-191.   10.1016/j.dynatmoce.2011.03.001   AbstractWebsite

In the California Current System (CCS), upwelling is one of the most important features that enrich the coastal ecosystem. It is highly dependent on both wind stress and wind stress curl, because they contribute to the upwelling system through Ekman transport away from the coast and Ekman pumping as a result of the surface divergence, respectively. Various wind stress products are known to contain sharply different patterns of wind stress, and well-resolved wind forcing products have been shown to drive stronger upwelling due to their better-resolved wind stress curl in previous studies. However, sensitivities of upwelling to changes in wind stress patterns, and each of their control to the source waters and paths of the upwelling cells, are not yet well known for the CCS. Here we study these effects using the Regional Ocean Modeling System (ROMS) and its adjoint model under idealized wind stress forcing patterns representing three widely-used products in addition to a constant wind stress field (no curl): the NCEP/NCAR Reanalysis, the QuikSCAT satellite observations, and the Regional Spectral Model (RSM) downscaling. Changes in currents and isopycnal patterns during the upwelling season are first studied in ROMS under the four different wind stress fields. The model simulations show that the locations of the core of the equatorward flow and the gradient of the cross-shore isopycnals are controlled by the wind stress curl field. The core of the equatorward flow is found under negative wind stress curl, and a deeper upwelling cell is found as the gradient from positive and negative wind stress curl increases. Source waters for the upwelling in each of the four wind stress patterns are investigated using the ROMS adjoint model. The simulations follow a passive tracer backward in time and track the source waters for upwelling in two key areas of interest: inshore and offshore of the Point Sur region of California. The upwelling source waters depend strongly on the depth of the upwelling cell and the alongshore current location. We further relate these results to recent studies of the observed trends in upwelling favorable winds and consequent wind stress curl changes in the CCS. (C) 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Todd, RE, Rudnick DL, Mazloff MR, Davis RE, Cornuelle BD.  2011.  Poleward flows in the southern California Current System: Glider observations and numerical simulation. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans. 116   10.1029/2010jc006536   AbstractWebsite

Three years of continuous Spray glider observations in the southern California Current System (CCS) are combined with a numerical simulation to describe the mean and variability of poleward flows in the southern CCS. Gliders provide upper ocean observations with good across-shore and temporal resolution along two across-shore survey lines while the numerical simulation provides a dynamically consistent estimate of the ocean state. Persistent poleward flows are observed in three areas: within 100 km of the coast at Point Conception, within the Southern California Bight (SCB), and offshore of the SCB and the Santa Rosa Ridge (SRR). Poleward transport by the flows within the SCB and offshore of the SRR exceeds the poleward transport off Point Conception, suggesting that the poleward flows are not continuous over the 225 km between observation lines. The numerical simulation shows offshore transport between the survey lines that is consistent with some of the poleward flow turning offshore before reaching Point Conception. The poleward current offshore of the SRR is unique in that it is strongest at depths greater than 350 m and it is observed to migrate westward away from the coast. This westward propagation is tied to westward propagating density anomalies originating in the SCB during the spring-summer upwelling season when wind stress curl is most strongly positive. The across-shore wave number, frequency, and phase speed of the westward propagation and the lack of across-shore transport of salinity along isopycnals are consistent with first-mode baroclinic Rossby dynamics.

Gawarkiewicz, G, Jan S, Lermusiaux PFJ, McClean JL, Centurioni L, Taylor K, Cornuelle B, Duda TF, Wang J, Yang YJ, Sanford T, Lien RC, Lee C, Lee MA, Leslie W, Haley PJ, Niiler PP, Gopalakrishnan G, Velez-Belchi P, Lee DK, Kim YY.  2011.  Circulation and Intrusions Northeast of Taiwan: Chasing and Predicting Uncertainty in the Cold Dome. Oceanography. 24:110-121. AbstractWebsite

An important element of present oceanographic research is the assessment and quantification of uncertainty. These studies are challenging in the coastal ocean due to the wide variety of physical processes occurring on a broad range of spatial and temporal scales. In order to assess new methods for quantifying and predicting uncertainty, a joint Taiwan-US field program was undertaken in August/September 2009 to compare model forecasts of uncertainties in ocean circulation and acoustic propagation, with high-resolution in situ observations. The geographical setting was the continental shelf and slope northeast of Taiwan, where a feature called the "cold dome" frequently forms. Even though it is hypothesized that Kuroshio subsurface intrusions are the water sources for the cold dome, the dome's dynamics are highly uncertain, involving multiple scales and many interacting ocean features. During the experiment, a combination of near-surface and profiling drifters, broad-scale and high-resolution hydrography, mooring arrays, remote sensing, and regional ocean model forecasts of fields and uncertainties were used to assess mean fields and uncertainties in the region. River runoff from Typhoon Morakot, which hit Taiwan August 7-8, 2009, strongly affected shelf stratification. In addition to the river runoff, a cold cyclonic eddy advected into the region north of the Kuroshio, resulting in a cold dome formation event. Uncertainty forecasts were successfully employed to guide the hydrographic sampling plans. Measurements and forecasts also shed light on the evolution of cold dome waters, including the frequency of eddy shedding to the north-northeast, and interactions with the Kuroshio and tides. For the first time in such a complex region, comparisons between uncertainty forecasts and the model skill at measurement locations validated uncertainty forecasts. To complement the real-time model simulations, historical simulations with another model show that large Kuroshio intrusions were associated with low sea surface height anomalies east of Taiwan, suggesting that there may be some degree of predictability for Kuroshio intrusions.

Song, H, Hoteit I, Cornuelle BD, Subramanian AC.  2010.  An Adaptive Approach to Mitigate Background Covariance Limitations in the Ensemble Kalman Filter. Monthly Weather Review. 138:2825-2845.   10.1175/2010mwr2871.1   AbstractWebsite

A new approach is proposed to address the background covariance limitations arising from undersampled ensembles and unaccounted model errors in the ensemble Kalman filter (EnKF). The method enhances the representativeness of the EnKF ensemble by augmenting it with new members chosen adaptively to add missing information that prevents the EnKF fromfully fitting the data to the ensemble. The vectors to be added are obtained by back projecting the residuals of the observation misfits from the EnKF analysis step onto the state space. The back projection is done using an optimal interpolation (OI) scheme based on an estimated covariance of the subspace missing from the ensemble. In the experiments reported here, the OI uses a stationary background covariance matrix, as in the hybrid EnKF-three-dimensional variational data assimilation (3DVAR) approach, but the resulting correction is included as a new ensemble member instead of being added to all existing ensemble members. The adaptive approach is tested with the Lorenz-96 model. The hybrid EnKF-3DVAR is used as a benchmark to evaluate the performance of the adaptive approach. Assimilation experiments suggest that the new adaptive scheme significantly improves the EnKF behavior when it suffers from small size ensembles and neglected model errors. It was further found to be competitive with the hybrid EnKF-3DVAR approach, depending on ensemble size and data coverage.

Dushaw, BD, Worcester PF, Munk WH, Spindel RC, Mercer JA, Howe BM, Metzger K, Birdsall TG, Andrew RK, Dzieciuch MA, Cornuelle BD, Menemenlis D.  2009.  A decade of acoustic thermometry in the North Pacific Ocean. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans. 114   10.1029/2008jc005124   AbstractWebsite

Over the decade 1996-2006, acoustic sources located off central California (1996 1999) and north of Kauai (1997-1999, 2002-2006) transmitted to receivers distributed throughout the northeast and north central Pacific. The acoustic travel times are inherently spatially integrating, which suppresses mesoscale variability and provides a precise measure of ray-averaged temperature. Daily average travel times at 4-day intervals provide excellent temporal resolution of the large-scale thermal field. The interannual, seasonal, and shorter-period variability is large, with substantial changes sometimes occurring in only a few weeks. Linear trends estimated over the decade are small compared to the interannual variability and inconsistent from path to path, with some acoustic paths warming slightly and others cooling slightly. The measured travel times are compared with travel times derived from four independent estimates of the North Pacific: (1) climatology, as represented by the World Ocean Atlas 2005 (WOA05); (2) objective analysis of the upper-ocean temperature field derived from satellite altimetry and in situ profiles; (3) an analysis provided by the Estimating the Circulation and Climate of the Ocean project, as implemented at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL-ECCO); and (4) simulation results from a high-resolution configuration of the Parallel Ocean Program (POP) model. The acoustic data show that WOA05 is a better estimate of the time mean hydrography than either the JPL-ECCO or the POP estimates, both of which proved incapable of reproducing the observed acoustic arrival patterns. The comparisons of time series provide a stringent test of the large-scale temperature variability in the models. The differences are sometimes substantial, indicating that acoustic thermometry data can provide significant additional constraints for numerical ocean models.

Muccino, JC, Arango HG, Bennett AF, Chua BS, Cornuelle BD, Di Lorenzo E, Egbert GD, Haidvogel D, Levin JC, Luo H, Miller AJ, Moore AA, Zaron ED.  2008.  The Inverse Ocean Modeling system. Part II: Applications. Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology. 25:1623-1637.   10.1175/2008jtecho522.1   AbstractWebsite

The Inverse Ocean Modeling (IOM) System is a modular system for constructing and running weak-constraint four-dimensional variational data assimilation (W4DVAR) for any linear or nonlinear functionally, smooth dynamical model and observing array. The IOM has been applied to four ocean models with widely varying characteristics. The Primitive Equations Z-coordinate-Harmonic Analysis of Tides (PEZ-HAT) and the Regional Ocean Modeling System (ROMS) are three-dimensional, primitive equations models while the Advanced Circulation model in 2D (ADCIRC-2D) and Spectral Element Ocean Model in 2D (SEOM-2D) are shallow-water models belonging to the general finite-element family. These models. in conjunction with the IOM, have been used to investigate a wide variety of scientific phenomena including tidal. mesoscale, and wind-driven circulation. In all cases, the assimilation of data using the IOM provides a better estimate of the ocean state than the model alone.

Tiemann, CO, Worcester PF, Cornuelle BD.  2001.  Acoustic scattering by internal solitary waves in the Strait of Gibraltar. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. 109:143-154.   10.1121/1.1329624   AbstractWebsite

High-freqnency underwater acoustic transmissions across the Strait of Gibraltar were used to examine acoustic scattering caused by the unique internal wave field in the Strait. Internal solitary waves of 100 m in amplitude propagate along the interface between an upper layer of Atlantic water and a lower layer of Mediterranean water. The interface is also strongly modulated by internal tides of comparable amplitude. As internal solitary waves cross the acoustic path, they cause sharp soundspeed gradients which intermittently refract acoustic rays away from normal sound channels. Internal tides vertically shift soundspeed profiles for additional travel time variability. Although the acoustic scattering is quite complicated, it is also surprisingly robust, making it a good candidate for modeling. Key features of the acoustic arrival pattern can be accounted for in some detail by a model description of the complex hydraulics in the Strait. (C) 2001 Acoustical Society of America. [DOI: 10.1121/1.1329624].