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Boas, ABV, Ardhuin F, Ayet A, Bourassa MA, Brandt P, Chapron B, Cornuelle BD, Farrar JT, Fewings MR, Fox-Kemper B, Gille ST, Gommenginger C, Heimbach P, Hell MC, Li Q, Mazloff MR, Merrifield ST, Mouche A, Rio MH, Rodriguez E, Shutler JD, Subramanian AC, Terrill EJ, Tsamados M, Ubelmann C, van Sebille E.  2019.  Integrated observations of global surface winds, currents, and waves: Requirements and challenges for the next decade. Frontiers in Marine Science. 6   10.3389/fmars.2019.00425   AbstractWebsite

Ocean surface winds, currents, and waves play a crucial role in exchanges of momentum, energy, heat, freshwater, gases, and other tracers between the ocean, atmosphere, and ice. Despite surface waves being strongly coupled to the upper ocean circulation and the overlying atmosphere, efforts to improve ocean, atmospheric, and wave observations and models have evolved somewhat independently. From an observational point of view, community efforts to bridge this gap have led to proposals for satellite Doppler oceanography mission concepts, which could provide unprecedented measurements of absolute surface velocity and directional wave spectrum at global scales. This paper reviews the present state of observations of surface winds, currents, and waves, and it outlines observational gaps that limit our current understanding of coupled processes that happen at the air-sea-ice interface. A significant challenge for the coming decade of wind, current, and wave observations will come in combining and interpreting measurements from (a) wave-buoys and high-frequency radars in coastal regions, (b) surface drifters and wave-enabled drifters in the open-ocean, marginal ice zones, and wave-current interaction "hot-spots," and (c) simultaneous measurements of absolute surface currents, ocean surface wind vector, and directional wave spectrum from Doppler satellite sensors.

Subramanian, AC, Balmaseda MA, Centurioni L, Chattopadhyay R, Cornuelle BD, DeMott C, Flatau M, Fujii Y, Giglio D, Gille ST, Hamill TM, Hendon H, Hoteit I, Kumar A, Lee JH, Lucas AJ, Mahadevan A, Matsueda M, Nam S, Paturi S, Penny SG, Rydbeck A, Sun R, Takaya Y, Tandon A, Todd RE, Vitart F, Yuan DL, Zhang CD.  2019.  Ocean observations to improve our understanding, modeling, and forecasting of subseasonal-to-seasonal variability. Frontiers in Marine Science. 6   10.3389/fmars.2019.00427   AbstractWebsite

Subseasonal-to-seasonal (S2S) forecasts have the potential to provide advance information about weather and climate events. The high heat capacity of water means that the subsurface ocean stores and re-releases heat (and other properties) and is an important source of information for S2S forecasts. However, the subsurface ocean is challenging to observe, because it cannot be measured by satellite. Subsurface ocean observing systems relevant for understanding, modeling, and forecasting on S2S timescales will continue to evolve with the improvement in technological capabilities. The community must focus on designing and implementing low-cost, high-value surface and subsurface ocean observations, and developing forecasting system capable of extracting their observation potential in forecast applications. S2S forecasts will benefit significantly from higher spatio-temporal resolution data in regions that are sources of predictability on these timescales (coastal, tropical, and polar regions). While ENSO has been a driving force for the design of the current observing system, the subseasonal time scales present new observational requirements. Advanced observation technologies such as autonomous surface and subsurface profiling devices as well as satellites that observe the ocean-atmosphere interface simultaneously can lead to breakthroughs in coupled data assimilation (CDA) and coupled initialization for S2S forecasts.

Heimbach, P, Fukumori I, Hills CN, Ponte RM, Stammer D, Wunsch C, Campin JM, Cornuelle B, Fenty I, Forget G, Kohl A, Mazloff M, Menemenlis D, Nguyen AT, Piecuch C, Trossman D, Verdy A, Wang O, Zhang H.  2019.  Putting it all together: Adding value to the global ocean and climate observing systems with complete self-consistent ocean state and parameter estimates. Frontiers in Marine Science. 6   10.3389/fmars.2019.00055   AbstractWebsite

In 1999, the consortium on Estimating the Circulation and Climate of the Ocean (ECCO) set out to synthesize the hydrographic data collected by the World Ocean Circulation Experiment (WOCE) and the satellite sea surface height measurements into a complete and coherent description of the ocean, afforded by an ocean general circulation model. Twenty years later, the versatility of ECCO's estimation framework enables the production of global and regional ocean and sea-ice state estimates, that incorporate not only the initial suite of data and its successors, but nearly all data streams available today. New observations include measurements from Argo floats, marine mammal-based hydrography, satellite retrievals of ocean bottom pressure and sea surface salinity, as well as ice-tethered profiled data in polar regions. The framework also produces improved estimates of uncertain inputs, including initial conditions, surface atmospheric state variables, and mixing parameters. The freely available state estimates and related efforts are property-conserving, allowing closed budget calculations that are a requisite to detect, quantify, and understand the evolution of climate-relevant signals, as mandated by the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 6 (CMIP6) protocol. The solutions can be reproduced by users through provision of the underlying modeling and assimilation machinery. Regional efforts have spun off that offer increased spatial resolution to better resolve relevant processes. Emerging foci of ECCO are on a global sea level changes, in particular contributions from polar ice sheets, and the increased use of biogeochemical and ecosystem data to constrain global cycles of carbon, nitrogen and oxygen. Challenges in the coming decade include provision of uncertainties, informing observing system design, globally increased resolution, and moving toward a coupled Earth system estimation with consistent momentum, heat and freshwater fluxes between the ocean, atmosphere, cryosphere and land.

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.