Publications

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2019
Gopalakrishnan, G, Hoteit I, Cornuelle BD, Rudnick DL.  2019.  Comparison of 4DVAR and EnKF state estimates and forecasts in the Gulf of Mexico. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society. 145:1354-1376.   10.1002/qj.3493   AbstractWebsite

An experiment is conducted to compare four-dimensional variational (4DVAR) and ensemble Kalman filter (EnKF) assimilation systems and their predictability in the Gulf of Mexico (GoM) using the Massachusetts Institute of Technology general circulation model (MITgcm). The quality of the ocean-state estimates, forecasts, and the contribution of ensemble prediction are evaluated. The MITgcm-Estimating the Circulation and Climate of the Ocean (ECCO) 4DVAR (MITgcm-ECCO) and the MITgcm-Data Assimilation Research Testbed (DART) EnKF (MITgcm-DART) systems were used to compute two-month hindcasts (March-April, 2010) by assimilating satellite-derived along-track sea-surface height (SSH) and gridded sea-surface temperature (SST) observations. The estimates from both methods at the end of the hindcast period were then used to initialize forecasts for two months (May-June, 2010). This period was selected because a loop current (LC) eddy (Eddy Franklin: Eddy-F) detachment event occurred at the end of May 2010, immediately after the Deepwater Horizon (DwH) oil spill. Despite some differences between the setups, both systems produce analyses and forecasts of comparable quality and both solutions significantly outperformed model persistence. A reference forecast initialized from the 1/12 degrees Hybrid Coordinate Ocean Model (HYCOM)/NCODA global analysis also performed well. The EnKF experiments for sensitivity to filter parameters showed enhanced predictability when using more ensemble members and stronger covariance localization, but not for larger inflation. The EnKF experiments varying the number of assimilation cycles showed enhanced short-term (long-term) predictability with fewer (more) assimilation cycles. Additional hindcast and forecast experiments at other times of significant LC evolution showed mixed performance of both systems, which depends strongly on the background state of the GoM circulation. The present work demonstrates a practical application of both assimilation methods for the GoM and compares them in a limited number of realizations. The overall conclusion showing improved short-term (long-term) predictability for EnKF (4DVAR) carries an important caveat that the results from this study are specific to a few 4DVAR and EnKF LC eddy separation experiments in the GoM and cannot be generalized to conclude the relative performance of both methods, especially in other applications. However, some of the concepts and methods should carry over to other applications.

2018
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.

2017
Villas Bôas, AB, Gille ST, Mazloff MR, Cornuelle BD.  2017.  Characterization of the deep-water surface wave variability in the California current region. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans.   10.1002/2017JC013280   Abstract

Surface waves are crucial for the dynamics of the upper ocean not only because they mediate exchanges of momentum, heat, energy, and gases between the ocean and the atmosphere, but also because they determine the sea state. The surface wave field in a given region is set by the combination of local and remote forcing. The present work characterizes the seasonal variability of the deep–water surface wave field in the California Current region, as retrieved from over two decades of satellite altimetry data combined with wave buoys and wave model hindcast (WaveWatch III). In particular, the extent to which the local wind modulates the variability of the significant wave height, peak period, and peak direction is assessed. During spring/summer, regional–scale wind events of up to 10 m/s are the dominant forcing for waves off the California coast, leading to relatively short period waves (8-10 s) that come predominantly from the north–northwest. The wave climatology throughout the California Current region shows average significant wave heights exceeding 2 m during most of the year, which may have implications for the planning and retrieval methods of the Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) satellite mission.

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.

Rudnick, DL, Gopalakrishnan G, Cornuelle BD.  2015.  Cyclonic eddies in the Gulf of Mexico: Observations by underwater gliders and simulations by numerical model. Journal of Physical Oceanography. 45:313-326.   10.1175/jpo-d-14-0138.1   AbstractWebsite

Circulation in the Gulf of Mexico (GoM) is dominated by the Loop Current (LC) and by Loop Current eddies (LCEs) that form at irregular multimonth intervals by separation from the LC. Comparatively small cyclonic eddies (CEs) are thought to have a controlling influence on the LCE, including its separation from the LC. Because the CEs are so dynamic and short-lived, lasting only a few weeks, they have proved a challenge to observe. This study addresses that challenge using underwater gliders. These gliders' data and satellite sea surface height (SSH) are used in a four-dimensional variational (4DVAR) assimilation in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) general circulation model (MITgcm). The model serves two purposes: first, the model's estimate of ocean state allows the analysis of four-dimensional fields, and second, the model forecasts are examined to determine the value of glider data. CEs have a Rossby number of about 0.2, implying that the effects of flow curvature, cyclostrophy, to modify the geostrophic momentum balance are slight. The velocity field in CEs is nearly depth independent, while LCEs are more baroclinic, consistent with the CEs origin on the less stratified, dense side of the LCE. CEs are formed from water in the GoM, rather than the Atlantic water that distinguishes the LCE. Model forecasts are improved by glider data, using a quality metric based on satellite SSH, with the best 2-month GoM forecast rivaling the accuracy of a global hindcast.

2013
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.

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.

2004
Moore, AM, Arango HG, Di Lorenzo E, Cornuelle BD, Miller AJ, Neilson DJ.  2004.  A comprehensive ocean prediction and analysis system based on the tangent linear and adjoint of a regional ocean model. Ocean Modelling. 7:227-258.   10.1016/j.ocemod.2003.11.001   AbstractWebsite

The regional ocean modelling system (ROMS) is a new generation ocean general circulation model that is rapidly gaining favour in the ocean modelling community. The tangent linear and adjoint versions of ROMS have recently been developed, and a new suite of tools that utilize these models for a variety of applications are now available to the ocean modelling community. In this paper we will describe the tangent linear and adjoint components of ROMS, and present examples from the tools that are currently available to ROMS users. In particular we will consider the finite time eigenmodes and the adjoint finite time eigenmodes of the tangent linear propagator, the singular vectors of the propagator, and its forcing singular vectors and stochastic optimals. The pseudospectra of the tangent linear resolvent matrix are also considered. Examples of each type of calculation will be presented for a time evolving double gyre ocean circulation in a rectangular ocean basin. (C) 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

2003
Willis, JK, Roemmich D, Cornuelle B.  2003.  Combining altimetric height with broadscale profile data to estimate steric height, heat storage, subsurface temperature, and sea-surface temperature variability. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans. 108   10.1029/2002jc001755   AbstractWebsite

A new technique is demonstrated for combining altimetric height (AH) and sea-surface temperature (SST) with in situ data to produce improved estimates of 0/800 m steric height (SH), heat content, and temperature variability. The technique uses a linear regression onto AH to construct an initial guess for the subsurface quantity. This guess is then corrected toward the in situ data creating an estimate with substantially less error than could be achieved using either data set alone. Inclusion of the SST data further improves the estimates and illustrates how the procedure can be generalized to allow inclusion of additional data sets. The technique is demonstrated over a region in the southwestern Pacific enclosing the Tasman Sea. Nine-year time series of heat storage and temperature variability, averaged over 4degrees latitude and longitude and 1 year in time, are calculated. The estimates have RMS errors of approximately 4.6 W/m(2) in heat storage, 0.10degreesC in subsurface temperature and 0.11degreesC in surface temperature, and fractional errors of 20, 28, and 18%, respectively, relative to the total variance overall spatial and temporal scales considered. These represent significant improvements over previous estimates of these quantities. All the time series show strong interannual variability including the El Nino event of 1997. Application of these techniques on a global scale could provide new insight into the variability of the general circulation and heat budget of the upper ocean.

1999
Colosi, JA, Scheer EK, Flatte SM, Cornuelle BD, Dzieciuch MA, Munk WH, Worcester PF, Howe BM, Mercer JA, Spindel RC, Metzger K, Birdsall TG, Baggeroer AB.  1999.  Comparisons of measured and predicted acoustic fluctuations for a 3250-km propagation experiment in the eastern North Pacific Ocean. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. 105:3202-3218.   10.1121/1.424650   AbstractWebsite

During the Acoustic Engineering Test (AET) of the Acoustic Thermometry of Ocean Climate (ATOC) program, acoustic signals were transmitted from a broadband source with 75-Hz center frequency to a 700-m-long vertical array of 20 hydrophones at a distance of 3252 km receptions occurred over a period of-six days. Each received pulse showed early identifiable timefronts, followed by about 2 s of highly variable energy. For the identifiable timefronts, observations of travel-time variance, average pulse shape, and the probability density function (PDF) of intensity are presented, and calculations of internal-wave contributions to those fluctuations are compared to the observations. Individual timefronts have rms travel time fluctuations of 11 to 19 ms, with time scales of less than 2 h. The pulse time spreads are between 0 and 5.3 ms rms, which suggest that internal-wave-induced travel-time biases are of the same magnitude. The PDFs of intensity for individual ray arrivals are compared to log-normal and exponential distributions. The observed PDFs are closer to the log-normal distribution, and variances of log intensity are between (3.1 dB)(2) (with a scintillation index of 0.74) for late-arriving timefronts and (2.0 dB)(2) (with a scintillation index of 0.2) for the earliest timefronts. Fluctuations of the pulse termination time of the transmissions are observed to be 22 ms rms. The intensity PDF of nonidentified peaks in the pulse crescendo are closer to a log-normal distribution than an exponential distribution, but a Kolmogorov-Smimov test rejects both distributions. The variance of the nonidentified peaks is (3.5 dB)(2) land the-scintillation index is 0.92. As a group, the observations suggest that the propagation is on the border of the unsaturated and partially saturated regimes. After improving the specification of the. ray weighting function, predictions of travel-time variance using the Garrett-Munk (GM) internal-wave spectrum at one-half the reference energy are in good agreement with the observations, and the one-half GM energy level compares well with XBT data taken along the transmission path. Predictions of pulse spread and wave propagation regime are in strong disagreement with the observations. Pulse time spread estimates are nearly two orders of magnitude too large, and Lambda-Phi methods for predicting the wave propagation regime predict full saturation. (C) 1999 Acoustical Society of America. [S0001-4966(99)04606-8].

1996
Morawitz, WML, Cornuelle BD, Worcester PF.  1996.  A case study in three-dimensional inverse methods: Combining hydrographic, acoustic, and moored thermistor data in the Greenland sea. Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology. 13:659-679.   10.1175/1520-0426(1996)013<0659:acsitd>2.0.co;2   AbstractWebsite

A variety of measurements, including acoustic travel times, moored thermistor time series, and hydrographic stations, were made in the Greenland Sea during 1988-89 to study the evolution of the temperature held throughout the year. This region is of intense oceanographic interest because it is one of the few areas in the world where open-ocean convection to great depths has been observed. This paper describes how the various data types were optimally combined using linear, weighted least squares inverse methods to provide significantly more information about the ocean than can be obtained from any single data type. The application of these methods requires construction of a reference state, a statistical model of ocean temperature variability relative to the reference state, and an analysis of the differing signal-to-noise ratios of each data type. A time-dependent reference state was constructed from all available hydrographic data, reflecting !he basic seasonal variability and keeping the perturbations sufficiently small so that linear inverse methods are applicable. Smoothed estimates of the vertical and horizontal covariances of the sound speed (temperature) variability were derived separately for summer and winter from all available hydrographic and moored thermistor data. The vertical covariances were normalized before bring decomposed into eigenvectors, so that eigenvectors were optimized to fit a fixed percentage of the variance at every depth. The 12 largest redimensionalized eigenvectors compose the vertical basis of the model. A spectral decomposition of a 40-km correlation scale Gaussian covariance is used as the horizontal basis. The uncertainty estimates provided by the inverse method illustrate the characteristics of each dataset in measuring large-scale features during a diversely sampled time period in the winter of 1989. The acoustic data alone resolve about 70% of the variance in the three-dimensional, 3-day average temperature field. The hydrographic data alone resolve approximately 65% of the variance during the selected period but are much less dense or absent over most of the year. The thermistor array alone resolves from 10% to 65% of the temperature variance, doing better near the surface where the most measurements were taken. The combination of the complete 1988-89 acoustic, hydrographic, and thermistor datasets give three-dimensional temperature and heat content estimates that resolve on average about 90% of the expected variance during this particularly densely sampled time period.

1994
Worcester, PF, Cornuelle BD, Hildebrand JA, Hodgkiss WS, Duda TF, Boyd J, Howe BM, Mercer JA, Spindel RC.  1994.  A Comparison of Measured and Predicted Broad-Band Acoustic Arrival Patterns in Travel Time-Depth Coordinates at 1000-Km Range. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. 95:3118-3128.   10.1121/1.409977   AbstractWebsite

Broadband acoustic signals were transmitted from a moored 250-Hz source to a 3-km-long vertical line array of hydrophones 1000 km distant in the eastern North Pacific Ocean during July 1989. The sound-speed field along the great circle path connecting the source and receiver was measured directly by nearly 300 expendable bathythermograph (XBT), conductivity-temperature-depth (CTD), and air-launched expendable bathythermograph (AXBT) casts while the transmissions were in progress. This experiment is unique in combining a vertical receiving array that extends over much of the water column, extensive concurrent environmental measurements, and broadband signals designed to measure acoustic travel times with 1-ms precision. The time-mean travel times of the early raylike arrivals, which are evident as wave fronts sweeping across the receiving array, and the time-mean of the times at which the acoustic reception ends (the final cutoffs) for hydrophones near the sound channel axis, are consistent with ray predictions based on the direct measurements of temperature and salinity, within measurement uncertainty. The comparisons show that subinertial oceanic variability with horizontal wavelengths shorter than 50 km, which is not resolved by the direct measurements, significantly (25 ms peak-to-peak) affects the time-mean ray travel times. The final cutoffs occur significantly later than predicted using ray theory for hydrophones more than 100-200 m off the sound channel axis. Nongeometric effects, such as diffraction at caustics, partially account for this observation.