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Assimilation of Geosat Altimetric Data in a Nonlinear Shallow-Water Model of the Indian Ocean by Adjoint Approach. Part II: Some Validation and Interpretation of the Assimilated Results

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  • 1 GRGS, Toulous, France
  • | 2 Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California
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Abstract

This paper examines the results of assimilating Geosat sea level variations relative to the November 1986–November 1988 mean reference, in a nonlinear reduced-gravity model of the Indian Ocean. Data have been assimilated during one year starting in November 1986 with the objective of optimizing the initial conditions and the yearly averaged reference surface. The thermocline slope simulated by the model with or without assimilation is validated by comparison with the signal, which can be derived from expandable bathythermograph measurements performed in the Indian Ocean at that time. The topography simulated with assimilation on November 1986 is in very good agreement with the hydrographic data. The slopes corresponding to the South Equatorial Current and to the South Equatorial Countercurrent are better reproduced with assimilation than without during the first nine months. The whole circulation of the cyclonic gyre south of the equator is then strongly intensified by assimilation.

Another assimilation experiment is run over the following year starting in November 1987. The difference between the two yearly mean surfaces simulated with assimilation is in excellent agreement with Geosat. In the southeastern Indian Ocean, the correction to the yearly mean dynamic topography due to assimilation over the second year is negatively correlated to the one the year before. This correction is also in agreement with hydro- graphic data. It is likely that the signal corrected by assimilation is not only due to wind error, because simulations driven by various wind forcings present the same features over the two years. Model simulations run with a prescribed throughflow transport anomaly indicate that assimilation is rather correcting in the interior of the model domain for inadequate boundary conditions with the Pacific.

Abstract

This paper examines the results of assimilating Geosat sea level variations relative to the November 1986–November 1988 mean reference, in a nonlinear reduced-gravity model of the Indian Ocean. Data have been assimilated during one year starting in November 1986 with the objective of optimizing the initial conditions and the yearly averaged reference surface. The thermocline slope simulated by the model with or without assimilation is validated by comparison with the signal, which can be derived from expandable bathythermograph measurements performed in the Indian Ocean at that time. The topography simulated with assimilation on November 1986 is in very good agreement with the hydrographic data. The slopes corresponding to the South Equatorial Current and to the South Equatorial Countercurrent are better reproduced with assimilation than without during the first nine months. The whole circulation of the cyclonic gyre south of the equator is then strongly intensified by assimilation.

Another assimilation experiment is run over the following year starting in November 1987. The difference between the two yearly mean surfaces simulated with assimilation is in excellent agreement with Geosat. In the southeastern Indian Ocean, the correction to the yearly mean dynamic topography due to assimilation over the second year is negatively correlated to the one the year before. This correction is also in agreement with hydro- graphic data. It is likely that the signal corrected by assimilation is not only due to wind error, because simulations driven by various wind forcings present the same features over the two years. Model simulations run with a prescribed throughflow transport anomaly indicate that assimilation is rather correcting in the interior of the model domain for inadequate boundary conditions with the Pacific.

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