Assimilation of Altimeter Data in a Quasi-Geostrophic Model of the Gulf Stream System: A Dynamical Perspective
WOODS HOLE OCEANOGRAPHIC INSTITUTION MA DEPT OF APPLIED OCEAN PHYSICS AND ENGINEERING
Pagination or Media Count:
The dynamical aspects involved in the assimilation of altimeter data in a numerical ocean model have been investigated. The model used for this study is a quasi-geostrophic model of the Gulf Stream region. The data that have been assimilated are maps of sea surface height which have been obtained as the superposition of sea surface height variability deduced from the Geosat altimeter measurements and a mean field constructed from historical hydrographic data. The method used for assimilating the data is the nudging technique. Nudging has been implemented in such a way as to achieve a high degree of convergence of the surface model fields toward the observations. We have analyzed the mechanisms of the model adjustment, and the final statistical equilibrium characteristics of the model simulation when the surface data are assimilated. Since the surface data are the superposition of a mean component and an eddy component, in order to understand the relative role of these two components in determining the characteristics of the final statistical steady state, we have considered two different experiments in the first experiment only the climatological mean field is assimilated, while in the second experiment the total surface streamfunction field mean eddies has been used. We have found that the mean component of the surface data determines, to a large extent, the structure of the flow field in the subsurface layers, while the eddy field, as well as the inflowoutflow conditions at the open boundaries, affect its intensity. In particular, if surface eddies are not assimilated only a weak flow develops in the two deeper model layers where no inflowoutflow is prescribed at the boundaries.
- Physical and Dynamic Oceanography