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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.

Todd, RE, Rudnick DL, Mazloff MR, Cornuelle BD, Davis RE.  2012.  Thermohaline structure in the California Current System: Observations and modeling of spice variance. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans. 117   10.1029/2011jc007589   AbstractWebsite

Upper ocean thermohaline structure in the California Current System is investigated using sustained observations from autonomous underwater gliders and a numerical state estimate. Both observations and the state estimate show layers distinguished by the temperature and salinity variability along isopycnals (i.e., spice variance). Mesoscale and submesoscale spice variance is largest in the remnant mixed layer, decreases to a minimum below the pycnocline near 26.3 kg m(-3), and then increases again near 26.6 kg m(-3). Layers of high (low) meso-and submesoscale spice variance are found on isopycnals where large-scale spice gradients are large (small), consistent with stirring of large-scale gradients to produce smaller scale thermohaline structure. Passive tracer adjoint calculations in the state estimate are used to investigate possible mechanisms for the formation of the layers of spice variance. Layers of high spice variance are found to have distinct origins and to be associated with named water masses; high spice variance water in the remnant mixed layer has northerly origin and is identified as Pacific Subarctic water, while the water in the deeper high spice variance layer has southerly origin and is identified as Equatorial Pacific water. The layer of low spice variance near 26.3 kg m(-3) lies between the named water masses and does not have a clear origin. Both effective horizontal diffusivity, kappa(h), and effective diapycnal diffusivity, kappa(v), are elevated relative to the diffusion coefficients set in the numerical simulation, but changes in kappa(h) and kappa(v) with depth are not sufficient to explain the observed layering of thermohaline structure.

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.

Baggeroer, AB, Birdsall TG, Clark C, Colosi JA, Cornuelle BD, Costa D, Dushaw BD, Dzieciuch M, Forbes AMG, Hill C, Howe BM, Marshall J, Menemenlis D, Mercer JA, Metzger K, Munk W, Spindel RC, Stammer D, Worcester PF, Wunsch C.  1998.  Ocean climate change; comparison of acoustic tomography, satellite altimetry, and modeling. Science. 281:1327-1332., Washington, DC, United States (USA): American Association for the Advancement of Science, Washington, DC   10.1126/science.281.5381.1327   AbstractWebsite

Comparisons of gyre-scale acoustic and direct thermal measurements of heat content in the Pacific Ocean, satellite altimeter measurements of sea surface height, and results from a general circulation model show that only about half of the seasonal and year-to-year changes in sea level are attributable to thermal expansion. Interpreting climate change signals from fluctuations in sea level is therefore complicated. The annual cycle of heat flux is 150 ± 25 watts per square meter (peak-to-peak, corresponding to a 0.2°C vertically averaged temperature cycle); an interannual change of similar magnitude is also detected. Meteorological estimates of surface heat flux, if accurate, require a large seasonal cycle in the advective heat flux.

Dushaw, BD, Worcester PF, Cornuelle BD, Howe BM.  1993.  On Equations for the Speed of Sound in Seawater. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. 93:255-275.   10.1121/1.405660   AbstractWebsite

Long-range acoustic transmissions made in conjunction with extensive environmental measurements and accurate mooring position determinations have been used to test the accuracy of equations used to calculate sound speed from pressure, temperature, and salinity. The sound-speed fields computed using the Del Grosso equation [ V. A. Del Grosso, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 56, 1084-1091 (1974)] give predictions of acoustic arrival patterns which agree significantly better with the long-range measurements than those computed using the Chen and Millero equation [ C. Chen and F. J. Millero, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 62, 1129-1135 (1977) The predicted ray travel times and travel time error have been calculated using objectively mapped sound-speed fields computed from conductivity, temperature, depth (CTD) and expendable bathythermograph (XBT) data. Using the measured and predicted ray travel times, a negligible correction to Del Grosso's equation of + 0.05 +/- 0.05 m/s at 4000-m depth is calculated.