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Edwards, CA, Moore AM, Hoteit I, Cornuelle BD.  2015.  Regional ocean data assimilation. Annual Review of Marine Science, Vol 7. 7:21-42.   10.1146/annurev-marine-010814-015821   AbstractWebsite

This article reviews the past 15 years of developments in regional ocean data assimilation. A variety of scientific, management, and safety-related objectives motivate marine scientists to characterize many ocean environments, including coastal regions. As in weather prediction, the accurate representation of physical, chemical, and/or biological properties in the ocean is challenging. Models and observations alone provide imperfect representations of the ocean state, but together they can offer improved estimates. Variational and sequential methods are among the most widely used in regional ocean systems, and there have been exciting recent advances in ensemble and four-dimensional variational approaches. These techniques are increasingly being tested and adapted for biogeochemical applications.

Gilson, J, Roemmich D, Cornuelle B, Fu LL.  1998.  Relationship of TOPEX/Poseidon altimetric height to steric height and circulation in the North Pacific. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans. 103:27947-27965.   10.1029/98jc01680   AbstractWebsite

TOPEX/Poseidon altimetric height is compared with 20 transpacific eddy-resolving realizations of steric height. The latter are calculated from temperature (expendable bathythermograph (XBT)) and salinity (expendable conductivity and temperature profiler (XCTD)) profiles along a precisely repeating ship track over a period of 5 years. The overall difference between steric height and altimetric height is 5.2 cm RMS. On long wavelengths (lambda < 500 km), the 3.5 cm RMS difference is due mainly to altimetric measurement errors but also has a component from steric variability deeper than the 800 m limit of the XBT. The data sets are very coherent in the long wavelength band, with coherence amplitude of 0.89. This band contains 65% of the total variance in steric height. On short wavelengths (lambda > 500 km), containing 17% of the steric height variance, the 3.0 cm RMS difference and lowered coherence are due to the sparse distribution of altimeter ground tracks along the XBT section. The 2.4 cm RMS difference in the basin-wide spatial mean appears to be due to fluctuations in bottom pressure. Differences between steric height and altimetric height increase near the western boundary, but data variance increases even more, and so the signal-to-noise ratio is highest in the western quarter of the transect. Basin-wide integrals of surface geostrophic transport from steric height and altimetric height are in reasonable agreement. The 1.9 x 10(4) m(2) s(-1) RMS difference is mainly because the interpolated altimetric height lacks spatial resolution across the narrow western boundary current. A linear regression is used to demonstrate the estimation of subsurface temperature from altimetric data. Errors diminish from 0.8 degrees C at 200 m to 0.3 degrees C at 400 m. Geostrophic volume transport, 0-800 m, shows agreement that is similar to surface transport, with 4.8 Sverdrup (Sv) (10(6) m(3) s(-1)) RMS difference. The combination of altimetric height with subsurface temperature and salinity profiling is a powerful tool for observing variability in circulation and transport of the upper ocean. The continuing need for appropriate subsurface data for verification and for statistical estimation is emphasized. This includes salinity measurements, which significantly reduce errors in specific volume and steric height.

Sagen, H, Worcester PF, Dzieciuch MA, Geyer F, Sandven S, Babiker M, Beszczynska-Moller A, Dushaw BD, Cornuelle B.  2017.  Resolution, identification, and stability of broadband acoustic arrivals in Fram Strait. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. 141:2055-2068.   10.1121/1.4978780   AbstractWebsite

An ocean acoustic tomography system consisting of three moorings with low frequency, broad-band transceivers and a moored receiver located approximately in the center of the triangle formed by the transceivers was installed in the central, deep-water part of Fram Strait during 2010-2012. Comparisons of the acoustic receptions with predictions based on hydrographic sections show that the oceanographic conditions in Fram Strait result in complex arrival patterns in which it is difficult to resolve and identify individual arrivals. In addition, the early arrivals are unstable, with the arrival structures changing significantly over time. The stability parameter a suggests that the instability is likely not due to small-scale variability, but rather points toward strong mesoscale variability in the presence of a relatively weak sound channel as being largely responsible. The estimator-correlator [Dzieciuch, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 136, 2512-2522 (2014)] is shown to provide an objective formalism for generating travel-time series given the complex propagation conditions. Because travel times obtained from the estimator-correlator are not associated with resolved, identified ray arrivals, inverse methods are needed that do not use sampling kernels constructed from geometric ray paths. One possible approach would be to use travel-time sensitivity kernels constructed for the estimator-correlator outputs. (C) 2017 Author(s). All article content, except where otherwise noted, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license.

Worcester, PF, Cornuelle BD, Spindel RC.  1991.  A Review of Ocean Acoustic Tomography - 1987-1990. Reviews of Geophysics. 29:557-570. AbstractWebsite

Research in ocean acoustic tomography during the last quadrennium has resulted in substantial progress in understanding the capabilities and limitations of the technique. Theoretical studies and numerical simulations have led to greater understanding of the oceanographic information available in a vertical slice from acoustic transmissions between a single pair of instruments, of the horizontal geometries required to map the ocean mesoscale field with specified precision, and of the properties of tomographic reconstructions of the two-dimensional vector field of current. Simultaneously, the instrumentation used in tomographic experiments has been significantly improved, increasing the precision of the measurements and making gyre and basin scale experiments feasible between moored instruments. Experimental efforts to test the accuracy with which the ocean temperature and current fields can be measured acoustically have now demonstrated that tomographic techniques provide measurements with oceanographically useful precision up to ranges of about 1000 km. Such demonstrations are difficult due to the incompatibility between point measurements and the spatial averages provided by tomographic techniques. The experiments have also yielded significant information on the character of acoustic propagation at long range in the ocean. Experimental precision is now adequate to distinguish between competing algorithms for sound speed as a function of temperature, salinity, and depth. Finally, and most importantly, emphasis has shifted to use of the technique for studying the ocean, rather than on understanding the capabilities and limitations of the technique. Two major experiments, the Greenland Sea Tomography Experiment and the Gulf Stream Extension Tomography Experiment, both conducted during 1988-89, were devoted to improving our understanding of ocean dynamics, although results are not yet available. There is increased emphasis on exploiting the integrating nature of acoustic transmissions to study gyre and global scale temperature variability, phenomena difficult to study in any other way.

Colosi, JA, Grp A.  1999.  A review of recent results on ocean acoustic wave propagation in random media: Basin scales. Ieee Journal of Oceanic Engineering. 24:138-155.   10.1109/48.757267   AbstractWebsite

Measurements of basin-scale acoustic transmissions made during the last four years by the Acoustic Thermometry of Ocean Climate (ATOC) program have allowed for the study of acoustic fluctuations of low-frequency pulse propagation at ranges of 1000 to 5000 km, Analysis of data from the ATOC Acoustic Engineering Test conducted in November 1994 has revealed new and unexpected results for the physics of ocean acoustic wave propagation in random media, In particular, use of traditional Lambda, Phi methods (using the Garrett-Munk (GM) internal wave model) to identify the wave propagation regime for early identifiable wavefronts predict the saturated regime, whereas observations of intensity probability density functions, intensity variance, and pulse time spread and wander suggest that the propagation is more likely near the border between the unsaturated and partially saturated regimes. Calculations of the diffraction parameter Lambda are very sensitive to the broad-band nature of the transmitted pulse, with CW calculations differing from a simplistic broad-band calculation by 10(3)! A simple model of pulse propagation using the Born approximation shows that CW and broad-band cases are sensitive to a random medium very differently and a theoretical description of broad-band effects for pulse propagation through a random media remains a fundamental unsolved problem in ocean acoustics. The observations show that, at 75-Hz center frequency, acoustic normal mode propagation is strongly nonadiabatic due to random media effects caused by internal waves. Simulations at a lower frequency of 28 Hz suggest that the first few modes might be treated adiabatically even in a random ocean. This raises the possibility of using modal techniques for ocean acoustic tomography, thereby increasing the vertical resolution of thermometry. Finally, the observation of unsaturated or partially saturated propagation for 75-Hz broad-band transmissions, like those of ATOC, suggests that ray-based tomography will be robust at basin-scales. This opens up the possibility of ray-based internal wave tomography using the observables of travel time variance, and vertical and temporal coherence, Using geometrical optics and the GM internal wave spectrum, internal wave tomography for an assortment of parameters of the GM model can be formulated in terms of a mixed linear/nonlinear inverse, This is a significant improvement upon a Monte Carlo approach presented in this paper which is used to infer average internal wave energies as a function of depth for the SLICE89 experiment. However, this Monte Carlo approach demonstrated, for the SLICE89 experiment, that the GM model failed to render a consistent inverse for acoustic energy which sampled the upper 100 m of the ocean, Until a new theory for the forward problem is advanced, internal wave tomography utilizing the signal from strong mode coupling can only be carried out using time-consuming Monte Carlo methods.