To overcome challenges with observing ocean heat content (OHC) over the entire ocean, we propose a novel approach that exploits the abundance of satellite data, including data from modern satellite geomagnetic surveys such as Swarm. The method considers a novel combination of conventional in situ (temperature and pressure) as well as satellite (altimetry and gravimetry) data with estimates of ocean electrical conductance (depth-integrated conductivity), which can potentially be obtained from magnetic observations (by satellite, land, seafloor, ocean, and airborne magnetometers). To demonstrate the potential benefit of the proposed method, we sample model output of an ocean state estimate to reflect existing observations and train a machine learning algorithm [Generalized Additive Model (GAM)] on these samples. We then calculate OHC everywhere using information potentially derivable from various global satellite coverage—including magnetic observations—to gauge the GAM’s goodness of fit on a global scale. Inclusion of in situ observations of OHC in the upper 2000 m from Argo-like floats and conductance data each reduce the root-mean-square error by an order of magnitude. Retraining the GAM with recent ship-based hydrographic data attains a smaller RMSE in polar oceans than training the GAM only once on all available historical ship-based hydrographic data; the opposite is true elsewhere. The GAM more accurately calculates OHC anomalies throughout the water column than below 2000 m and can detect global OHC anomalies over multiyear time scales, even when considering hypothetical measurement errors. Our method could complement existing methods and its accuracy could be improved through careful ship-based campaign planning.
The purpose of this manuscript is to demonstrate the potential for practical implementation of a remote monitoring method for ocean heat content (OHC) anomalies. To do this, we sample data from a reanalysis product primarily because of the dearth of observations below 2000 m depth that can be used for validation and the fact that full-depth-integrated electrical seawater conductivity data products derived from satellite magnetometry are not yet available. We evaluate multiple factors related to the accuracy of OHC anomaly estimation and find that, even with hypothetical measurement errors, our method can be used to monitor OHC anomalies on multiyear time scales.
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