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Sea Surface Height Predictions from the Global Navy Coastal Ocean Model during 1998–2001

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  • 1 Naval Research Laboratory, Oceanography Division, Stennis Space Center, Mississippi
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Abstract

A ⅛° global version of the Navy Coastal Ocean Model (NCOM), operational at the Naval Oceanographic Office (NAVOCEANO), is used for prediction of sea surface height (SSH) on daily and monthly time scales during 1998–2001. Model simulations that use 3-hourly wind and thermal forcing obtained from the Navy Operational Global Atmospheric Prediction System (NOGAPS) are performed with/without data assimilation to examine indirect/direct effects of atmospheric forcing in predicting SSH. Model–data evaluations are performed using the extensive database of daily averaged SSH values from tide gauges in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans obtained from the Joint Archive for Sea Level (JASL) center during 1998–2001. Model–data comparisons are based on observations from 282 tide gauge locations. An inverse barometer correction was applied to SSH time series from tide gauges for model–data comparisons, and a sensitivity study is undertaken to assess the impact of the inverse barometer correction on the SSH validation. A set of statistical metrics that includes conditional bias (Bcond), root-mean-square (rms) difference, correlation coefficient (R), and nondimensional skill score (SS) is used to evaluate the model performance. It is shown that global NCOM has skill in representing SSH even in a free-running simulation, with general improvement when SSH from satellite altimetry and sea surface temperature (SST) from satellite IR are assimilated via synthetic temperature and salinity profiles derived from climatological correlations. When the model was run from 1998 to 2001 with NOGAPS forcing, daily model SSH comparisons from 612 yearlong daily tide gauge time series gave a median rms difference of 5.98 cm (5.77 cm), an R value of 0.72 (0.76), and an SS value of 0.45 (0.51) for the ⅛° free-running (assimilative) NCOM. Similarly, error statistics based on the 30-day running averages of SSH time series for 591 yearlong daily tide gauge time series over the time frame 1998–2001 give a median rms difference of 3.63 cm (3.36 cm), an R value of 0.83 (0.85), and an SS value of 0.60 (0.64) for the ⅛° free-running (assimilated) NCOM. Model– data comparisons show that skill in 30-day running average SSH time series is as much as 30% higher than skill for daily SSH. Finally, SSH predictions from the free-running and assimilative ⅛° NCOM simulations are validated against sea level data from the tide gauges in two different ways: 1) using original detided sea level time series from tide gauges and 2) using the detided data with an inverse barometer correction derived using daily mean sea level pressure extracted from NOGAPS at each location. Based on comparisons with 612 yearlong daily tide gauge time series during 1998–2001, the inverse barometer correction lowered the median rms difference by about 1 cm (15%–20%). Results presented in this paper reveal that NCOM is able to predict SSH with reasonable accuracies, as evidenced by model simulations performed during 1998–2001. In an extension of the validation over broader ocean regions, the authors find good agreement in amplitude and distribution of SSH variability between NCOM and other operational model products.

Corresponding author address: Charlie N. Barron, Naval Research Laboratory, Code 7323, Bldg. 1009, Stennis Space Center, MS 39529-5004. Email: barron@nrlssc.navy.mil

Abstract

A ⅛° global version of the Navy Coastal Ocean Model (NCOM), operational at the Naval Oceanographic Office (NAVOCEANO), is used for prediction of sea surface height (SSH) on daily and monthly time scales during 1998–2001. Model simulations that use 3-hourly wind and thermal forcing obtained from the Navy Operational Global Atmospheric Prediction System (NOGAPS) are performed with/without data assimilation to examine indirect/direct effects of atmospheric forcing in predicting SSH. Model–data evaluations are performed using the extensive database of daily averaged SSH values from tide gauges in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans obtained from the Joint Archive for Sea Level (JASL) center during 1998–2001. Model–data comparisons are based on observations from 282 tide gauge locations. An inverse barometer correction was applied to SSH time series from tide gauges for model–data comparisons, and a sensitivity study is undertaken to assess the impact of the inverse barometer correction on the SSH validation. A set of statistical metrics that includes conditional bias (Bcond), root-mean-square (rms) difference, correlation coefficient (R), and nondimensional skill score (SS) is used to evaluate the model performance. It is shown that global NCOM has skill in representing SSH even in a free-running simulation, with general improvement when SSH from satellite altimetry and sea surface temperature (SST) from satellite IR are assimilated via synthetic temperature and salinity profiles derived from climatological correlations. When the model was run from 1998 to 2001 with NOGAPS forcing, daily model SSH comparisons from 612 yearlong daily tide gauge time series gave a median rms difference of 5.98 cm (5.77 cm), an R value of 0.72 (0.76), and an SS value of 0.45 (0.51) for the ⅛° free-running (assimilative) NCOM. Similarly, error statistics based on the 30-day running averages of SSH time series for 591 yearlong daily tide gauge time series over the time frame 1998–2001 give a median rms difference of 3.63 cm (3.36 cm), an R value of 0.83 (0.85), and an SS value of 0.60 (0.64) for the ⅛° free-running (assimilated) NCOM. Model– data comparisons show that skill in 30-day running average SSH time series is as much as 30% higher than skill for daily SSH. Finally, SSH predictions from the free-running and assimilative ⅛° NCOM simulations are validated against sea level data from the tide gauges in two different ways: 1) using original detided sea level time series from tide gauges and 2) using the detided data with an inverse barometer correction derived using daily mean sea level pressure extracted from NOGAPS at each location. Based on comparisons with 612 yearlong daily tide gauge time series during 1998–2001, the inverse barometer correction lowered the median rms difference by about 1 cm (15%–20%). Results presented in this paper reveal that NCOM is able to predict SSH with reasonable accuracies, as evidenced by model simulations performed during 1998–2001. In an extension of the validation over broader ocean regions, the authors find good agreement in amplitude and distribution of SSH variability between NCOM and other operational model products.

Corresponding author address: Charlie N. Barron, Naval Research Laboratory, Code 7323, Bldg. 1009, Stennis Space Center, MS 39529-5004. Email: barron@nrlssc.navy.mil

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