Publications

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2017
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.

2015
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.

2014
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.

2011
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.

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.

2009
Rasmussen, LL, Cornuelle BD, Levin LA, Largier JL, Di Lorenzo E.  2009.  Effects of small-scale features and local wind forcing on tracer dispersion and estimates of population connectivity in a regional scale circulation model. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans. 114   10.1029/2008jc004777   AbstractWebsite

A small-scale model of the Southern California-Northern Baja California coastline has been developed to explore dispersion over the continental shelf, with specific attention to physical parameters pertinent to simulations of larval dispersal and population connectivity. The ROMS simulation employs a nested grid system, with an inner domain resolution of 600 m and an outer domain resolution of 1.5 km. Realistic bathymetry and forcing were employed to investigate the effects of passive transport of tracers introduced at locations with known communities of mytilid mussels along the coastline. The effects of topographic resolution, boundary conditions, and choice of meteorological forcing products on dispersion rates, tracer trajectories, and the subsequent measures of population connectivity were examined. In particular, the choice of wind forcing product resulted in different circulation patterns and tracer trajectories and had especially important consequences on measures of larval connectivity such as self-seeding, potential for larval settlement ( import), and contribution to the pool of available larvae ( export). While some forcing products performed better when model data were compared to field measurements, no product was clearly superior. The uncertainty in results, which may appear minor in larger-scale temperature or surface velocity fields, is significant when examining a sensitive passive tracer. This modeling uncertainty needs to be addressed when interpreting connectivity results.

2004
Di Lorenzo, E, Miller AJ, Neilson DJ, Cornuelle BD, Moisan JR.  2004.  Modelling observed California Current mesoscale eddies and the ecosystem response. International Journal of Remote Sensing. 25:1307-1312.   10.1080/01431160310001592229   AbstractWebsite

Satellite and in situ observations are used to test model dynamics for the California Current System (CCS). The model and data are combined to reconstruct the mesoscale ocean structure during a given three-week period. The resulting physical flow field is used to drive a 3D ecosystem model to interpret SeaWiFS and in situ chlorophyll-a (chl-a) variations. With this approach a more complete and consistent picture of the physical and ecosystem processes of the CCS is obtained, providing the basis for addressing fundamental questions about dynamics and predictability of the coastal ocean.

2000
Cornuelle, BD, Chereskin TK, Niiler PP, Morris MY, Musgrave DL.  2000.  Observations and modeling of a California undercurrent eddy. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans. 105:1227-1243.   10.1029/1999jc900284   AbstractWebsite

A deep, nonlinear warm eddy advecting water that was also anomalously saltier, lower in oxygen, and higher in nutrients relative to surrounding waters was observed in moored current and temperature measurements and in hydrographic data obtained at a site similar to 400 km off the coast of northern California. The eddy was reproduced using a nonlinear quasi-geostrophic model, initialized by an iterative procedure using time series of 2-day averaged moored current measurements. The procedure demonstrates how a data assimilative technique synthesizes and enhances the resolution of a relatively sparse data set by incorporating time-dependence and model physics. The model forecast showed significant skill above persistence or climatology for 40 days. Our hypothesis, that the eddy was generated at the coast in winter and subsequently moved 400 km offshore by May, is consistent with the eddy movement diagnosed by the model and with the observations and coastal climatology. The model evolution significantly underpredicted the temperature anomaly in the eddy owing in part to unmodeled salinity compensation in trapped California Undercurrent water. Together, observations and model results show a stable nonlinear eddy in the California Current System that transported water and properties southwestward through the energetic eastern boundary region. Coherent features such as this one may be a mechanism for property transfer between the eddy-rich coastal zone and the eddy desert of the eastern North Pacific Ocean.