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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, Cornuelle B, Kim SY, Forget G, Kohl A, Terrill E.  2009.  Assessing 4D-VAR for dynamical mapping of coastal high-frequency radar in San Diego. Dynamics of Atmospheres and Oceans. 48:175-197.   10.1016/j.dynatmoce.2008.11.005   AbstractWebsite

The problem of dynamically mapping high-frequency (HF) radar radial velocity observations is investigated using a three-dimensional hydrodynamic model of the San Diego coastal region and an adjoint-based assimilation method. The HF radar provides near-real-time radial velocities from three sites covering the region offshore of San Diego Bay. The hydrodynamical model is the Massachusetts Institute of Technology general circulation model (MITgcm) with 1 km horizontal resolution and 40 vertical layers. The domain is centered on Point Loma, extending 117 km offshore and 120 km alongshore. The reference run (before adjustment) is initialized from a single profile of T and S and is forced with wind data from a single shore station and with zero heat and fresh water fluxes. The adjoint of the model is used to adjust initial temperature, salinity, and velocity, hourly temperature, salinity and horizontal velocities at the open boundaries, and hourly surface fluxes of momentum, heat and freshwater so that the model reproduces hourly HF radar radial velocity observations. Results from a small number of experiments suggest that the adjoint method can be successfully used over 10-day windows at coastal model resolution. It produces a dynamically consistent model run that fits HF radar data with errors near the specified uncertainties. In a test of the forecasting capability of the San Diego model after adjustment, the forecast skill was shown to exceed persistence for up to 20 h. (C) 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Kim, SY, Terrill EJ, Cornuelle BD.  2009.  Assessing Coastal Plumes in a Region of Multiple Discharges: The US-Mexico Border. Environmental Science & Technology. 43:7450-7457.   10.1021/es900775p   AbstractWebsite

The San Diego/Tijuana border region has several environmental challenges with regard to assessing water quality impacts resulting from local coastal ocean discharges for which transport is not hindered by political boundaries. While an understanding of the fate and transport of these discharged plumes has a broad audience, the spatial and temporal scales of the physical processes present numerous challenges in conducting assessment with any fidelity. To address these needs, a data-driven model of the transport of both shoreline and offshore discharges is developed and operated in a hindcast mode for a four-year period to analyze regional connectivity between the discharges and the receiving of waters and the coastline. The plume exposure hindcast model is driven by surface current data generated by a network of high-frequency radars. Observations provided by both boat-based CTD measurements and fixed oceanographic moorings are used with the Roberts-Snyder-Baumgartner model to predict the plume rise height. The surface transport model outputs are compared with shoreline samples of fecal indicator bacteria (FIB), and the skill of the model to assess low water quality is evaluated using receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis.

Cornuelle, BD, Morris MY, Roemmich DH.  1993.  An Objective Mapping Method for Estimating Geostrophic Velocity from Hydrographic Sections Including the Equator. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans. 98:18109-18118.   10.1029/93jc01729   AbstractWebsite

Objective mapping can remove the equatorial singularity from the problem of estimating geostrophic shear from noisy density measurements. The method uses the complete thermal wind relation, so it is valid uniformly on and off the equator. Errors in the thermal wind balance are due to neglected terms in the momentum balance, which are treated as noise in the inverse problem. The question of whether the geostrophic balance holds near the equator is restated as a need to estimate the size of the ageostrophic noise in the thermal wind equation. Objective mapping formalizes the assumptions about the magnitudes and scales of the geostrophic currents and about the magnitudes and scales of the ageostrophic terms and measurement errors. The uncertainty of the velocity estimates is calculated as part of the mapping and depends on the signal to noise ratio (geostrophic density signal to ageostrophic ''noise'') in the data, as well as the station spacing and the scales assumed for the geostrophic velocities. The method is used to map zonal velocity from a mean Hawaii-Tahiti Shuttle density section. These are compared with previous velocity estimates for the same dataset calculated using other techniques. By choosing appropriate scales, the objective map can duplicate previous results. New temperature data are presented from a repeating, high-resolution expendable bathythermograph section crossing the equator at about 170-degrees-W with four cruises a year between 1987-1991. There appear to be significant differences between this mean temperature and the shuttle mean temperature. Temperature is converted to density with the aid of a mean T-S relation and geostrophic velocity maps are calculated for the 4-year mean. The mean geostrophic undercurrent obtained from our sections is weaker than in the shuttle estimate and is centered slightly north of the equator. Enforcing symmetry about the equator removes the offset of the current, giving a stronger, but narrow undercurrent. The density field apparently includes significant (O(0.5 kg M-3)) large-scale ageostrophic variability which makes velocity estimates from single cruises poorly determined near the equator.