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A Correction for Land Contamination of Atmospheric Variables near Land–Sea Boundaries

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

Ocean models need over-ocean atmospheric forcing. However, such forcing is not necessarily provided near the land–sea boundary because 1) the atmospheric model grid used for forcing is frequently much coarser than the ocean model grid, and 2) some of the atmospheric model grid over the ocean includes land values near coastal regions. This paper presents a creeping sea-fill methodology to reduce the improper representation of scalar atmospheric forcing variables near coastal regions, a problem that compromises the usefulness of the fields for ocean model simulations and other offshore applications. For demonstration, atmospheric forcing variables from archived coarse-resolution gridded products—the 1.125° × 1.125° 15-yr European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) Re-Analysis (ERA-15) and 1.0° × 1.0° Navy Operational Global Atmospheric Prediction System (NOGAPS)—are used here. A fine-resolution [1/25° × 1/25° cos(lat)], (longitude × latitude) (∼3.2 km) eddy-resolving Black Sea Hybrid Coordinate Ocean Model (HYCOM) is then forced with/without sea-filled atmospheric variables from these gridded products to simulate monthly mean climatological sea surface temperature (SST). Using only over-ocean values from atmospheric forcing fields in the ocean model simulations significantly reduces the climatological mean SST bias (by ∼1°–3°C) and rms SST difference over the seasonal cycle (by ∼2°–3°C) in coastal regions. Performance of the creeping sea-fill methodology is also directly evaluated using measurements of wind speed at 10 m above the surface from the SeaWinds scatterometer on the NASA Quick Scatterometer (QuikSCAT) satellite. Comparisons of original monthly mean wind speeds from operational ECMWF and NOGAPS products with those from QuikSCAT give basin-averaged rms differences of 1.6 and 1.4 m s−1, respectively, during 2000–03. Similar comparisons performed with sea-filled monthly mean wind speeds result in a much lower rms difference (0.7 m s−1 for both products) during the same time period, clearly confirming the accuracy of the methodology even on interannual time scales. Most of the unrealistically low wind speeds from ECMWF and NOGAPS near coastal boundaries are appropriately corrected with the use of the creeping sea fill. Wind speed errors for ECWMF and NOGAPS (mean bias of ≥ 2.5 m s−1 with respect to QuikSCAT during 2000–03) are substantially eliminated (e.g., almost no bias) near most of the land–sea boundaries. Finally, ocean, atmosphere, and coupled atmospheric–oceanic modelers need to be aware that the creeping sea fill is a promising methodology in significantly reducing the land contamination resulting from an improper land–sea mask existing in gridded coarse-resolution atmospheric products (e.g., ECMWF).

* Naval Research Contribution Number NRL/JA/7320/04/5087

Corresponding author address: Dr. Birol Kara, Naval Research Laboratory, Code 7320, Bldg. 1009, Stennis Space Center, MS 39529-5004. Email: birol.kara@nrlssc.navy.mil

Abstract

Ocean models need over-ocean atmospheric forcing. However, such forcing is not necessarily provided near the land–sea boundary because 1) the atmospheric model grid used for forcing is frequently much coarser than the ocean model grid, and 2) some of the atmospheric model grid over the ocean includes land values near coastal regions. This paper presents a creeping sea-fill methodology to reduce the improper representation of scalar atmospheric forcing variables near coastal regions, a problem that compromises the usefulness of the fields for ocean model simulations and other offshore applications. For demonstration, atmospheric forcing variables from archived coarse-resolution gridded products—the 1.125° × 1.125° 15-yr European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) Re-Analysis (ERA-15) and 1.0° × 1.0° Navy Operational Global Atmospheric Prediction System (NOGAPS)—are used here. A fine-resolution [1/25° × 1/25° cos(lat)], (longitude × latitude) (∼3.2 km) eddy-resolving Black Sea Hybrid Coordinate Ocean Model (HYCOM) is then forced with/without sea-filled atmospheric variables from these gridded products to simulate monthly mean climatological sea surface temperature (SST). Using only over-ocean values from atmospheric forcing fields in the ocean model simulations significantly reduces the climatological mean SST bias (by ∼1°–3°C) and rms SST difference over the seasonal cycle (by ∼2°–3°C) in coastal regions. Performance of the creeping sea-fill methodology is also directly evaluated using measurements of wind speed at 10 m above the surface from the SeaWinds scatterometer on the NASA Quick Scatterometer (QuikSCAT) satellite. Comparisons of original monthly mean wind speeds from operational ECMWF and NOGAPS products with those from QuikSCAT give basin-averaged rms differences of 1.6 and 1.4 m s−1, respectively, during 2000–03. Similar comparisons performed with sea-filled monthly mean wind speeds result in a much lower rms difference (0.7 m s−1 for both products) during the same time period, clearly confirming the accuracy of the methodology even on interannual time scales. Most of the unrealistically low wind speeds from ECMWF and NOGAPS near coastal boundaries are appropriately corrected with the use of the creeping sea fill. Wind speed errors for ECWMF and NOGAPS (mean bias of ≥ 2.5 m s−1 with respect to QuikSCAT during 2000–03) are substantially eliminated (e.g., almost no bias) near most of the land–sea boundaries. Finally, ocean, atmosphere, and coupled atmospheric–oceanic modelers need to be aware that the creeping sea fill is a promising methodology in significantly reducing the land contamination resulting from an improper land–sea mask existing in gridded coarse-resolution atmospheric products (e.g., ECMWF).

* Naval Research Contribution Number NRL/JA/7320/04/5087

Corresponding author address: Dr. Birol Kara, Naval Research Laboratory, Code 7320, Bldg. 1009, Stennis Space Center, MS 39529-5004. Email: birol.kara@nrlssc.navy.mil

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