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Andrea Cipollone, Andrea Storto, and Simona Masina

Abstract

Recent advances in global ocean prediction systems are fostered by the needs of accurate representation of mesoscale processes. The day-by-day realistic representation of its variability is hampered by the scarcity of observations as well as the capability of assimilation systems to correct the ocean states at the same scale. This work extends a 3DVAR system designed for oceanic applications to cope with global eddy-resolving grid and dense observational datasets in a hybridly parallelized environment. The efficiency of the parallelization is assessed in terms of both scalability and accuracy. The scalability is favored by a weak-constrained formulation of the continuity requirement among the artificial boundaries implied by the domain decomposition. The formulation forces possible boundary discontinuities to be less than a prescribed error and minimizes the parallel communication relative to standard methods. In theory, the exact solution is recovered by decreasing the boundary error toward zero. In practice, it is shown that the accuracy increases until a lower bound arises, because of the presence of the mesh and the finite accuracy of the minimizer. A twin experiment has been set up to estimate the benefit of employing an eddy-resolving grid within the assimilation step, as compared with an eddy-permitting one, while keeping the eddy-resolving grid within the forecast step. It is shown that the use of a coarser grid for data assimilation does not allow an optimal exploitation of the present remote sensing observation network. A global decrease of about 15% in the error statistics is found when assimilating dense surface observations, and no significant improvement is seen for sparser observations (in situ profilers).

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Andrea Storto, Simona Masina, and Srdjan Dobricic

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Optimally modeling background-error horizontal correlations is crucial in ocean data assimilation. This paper investigates the impact of releasing the assumption of uniform background-error correlations in a global ocean variational analysis system. Spatially varying horizontal correlations are introduced in the recursive filter operator, which is used for modeling horizontal covariances in the Centro Euro-Mediterraneo sui Cambiamenti Climatici (CMCC) analysis system. The horizontal correlation length scales (HCLSs) were defined on the full three-dimensional model space and computed from both a dataset of monthly anomalies with respect to the monthly climatology and through the so-called National Meteorological Center (NMC) method. Different formulas for estimating the correlation length scale are also discussed and applied to the two forecast error datasets. The new formulation is tested within a 12-yr period (2000–11) in the ½° resolution system. The comparison with the data assimilation system using uniform background-error horizontal correlations indicates the superiority of the former, especially in eddy-dominated areas. Verification skill scores report a significant reduction of RMSE, and the use of nonuniform length scales improves the representation of the eddy kinetic energy at midlatitudes, suggesting that uniform, latitude, or Rossby radius-dependent formulations are insufficient to represent the geographical variations of the background-error correlations. Furthermore, a small tuning of the globally uniform value of the length scale was found to have a small impact on the analysis system. The use of either anomalies or NMC-derived correlation length scales also has a marginal effect with respect to the use of nonuniform HCLSs. On the other hand, the application of overestimated length scales has proved to be detrimental to the analysis system in all areas and for all parameters.

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Andrea Storto, Paolo Oddo, Elisa Cozzani, and Emanuel Ferreira Coelho

Abstract

Because of the systematic error in the processing of altimetry data, sea level anomaly (SLA) observation errors are likely affected by nonnegligible spatial correlations. To account for these, we exploit the synergy of altimetry data with in situ profiles from gliders, piloted to follow the altimetry tracks during the Long-Term Glider Mission for Environmental Characterization 2017 (LOGMEC17) observational campaign in the Ligurian Sea. The assimilation of along-track unfiltered sea level anomalies in a regional ocean analysis and forecast system is consequently optimized by means of introducing spatial correlations for the SLA observation errors. In particular, collocated data of glider and altimetry are used to derive an along-track error covariance model for the sea level anomaly assimilation, assuming that most of the covariance behavior versus separation distance stems from altimetry. Spatial scales of the altimetry error are found to have a correlation radius of about 12 km for the dataset utilized in the Ligurian Sea, using a simple Gaussian shape for the error correlation, shorter than the correlation radius found through assimilation output diagnostics. A variational data assimilation system is modified to relax the usual assumption of uncorrelated altimetry observation errors, thus allowing for along-track error correlations. Its implementation provides promising results in the regional ocean prediction system, outperforming in most verification skill scores the use of uncorrelated observational errors without compromising the analysis scheme efficiency.

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Chunxue Yang, Simona Masina, Alessio Bellucci, and Andrea Storto

Abstract

The rapid warming in the mid-1990s in the North Atlantic Ocean is investigated by means of an eddy-permitting ocean reanalysis. Both the mean state and variability, including the mid-1990s warming event, are well captured by the reanalysis. An ocean heat budget applied to the subpolar gyre (SPG) region (50°–66°N, 60°–10°W) shows that the 1995–99 rapid warming is primarily dictated by changes in the heat transport convergence term while the surface heat fluxes appear to play a minor role. The mean negative temperature increment suggests a warm bias in the model and data assimilation corrects the mean state of the model, but it is not crucial to reconstruct the time variability of the upper-ocean temperature. The decomposition of the heat transport across the southern edge of the SPG into time-mean and time-varying components shows that the SPG warming is mainly associated with both the anomalous advection of mean temperature and the mean advection of temperature anomalies across the 50°N zonal section. The relative contributions of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) and gyre circulation to the heat transport are also analyzed. It is shown that both the overturning and gyre components are relevant to the mid-1990s warming. In particular, the fast adjustment of the barotropic circulation response to the NAO drives the anomalous transport of mean temperature at the subtropical/subpolar boundary, while the slowly evolving AMOC feeds the large-scale advection of thermal anomalies across 50°N. The persistently positive phase of the NAO during the years prior to the rapid warming likely favored the cross-gyre heat transfer and the following SPG warming.

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Andrea Storto, Srdjan Dobricic, Simona Masina, and Pierluigi Di Pietro

Abstract

A global ocean three-dimensional variational data assimilation system was developed with the aim of assimilating along-track sea level anomaly observations, along with in situ observations from bathythermographs and conventional sea stations. All the available altimetric data within the period October 1992–January 2006 were used in this study. The sea level corrections were covariated with vertical profiles of temperature and salinity according to the bivariate definition of the background-error vertical covariances. Sea level anomaly observational error variance was carefully defined as a sum of instrumental, representativeness, observation operator, and mean dynamic topography error variances. The mean dynamic topography was computed from the model long-term mean sea surface height and adjusted through an optimal interpolation scheme to account for observation minus first-guess biases. Results show that the assimilation of sea level anomaly observations improves the model sea surface height skill scores as well as the subsurface temperature and salinity fields. Furthermore, the estimate of the tropical and subtropical surface circulation is clearly improved after assimilating altimetric data. Nonnegligible impacts of the mean dynamic topography used have also been found: compared to a gravimeter-based mean dynamic topography the use of the mean dynamic topography discussed in this paper improves both the consistency with sea level anomaly observations and the verification skill scores of temperature and salinity in the tropical regions. Furthermore, the use of a mean dynamic topography computed from the model long-term sea surface height mean without observation adjustments results in worsened verification skill scores and highlights the benefits of the current approach for deriving the mean dynamic topography.

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Andrea Storto, Giovanni De Magistris, Silvia Falchetti, and Paolo Oddo

Abstract

Variational data assimilation requires implementing the tangent-linear and adjoint (TA/AD) version of any operator. This intrinsically hampers the use of complicated observations. Here, we assess a new data-driven approach to assimilate acoustic underwater propagation measurements (Transmission Loss, TL) into a regional ocean forecasting system. TL measurements depend on the underlying sound speed fields, mostly temperature, and their inversion would require heavy coding of the TA/AD of an acoustic underwater propagation model. In this study, the non-linear version of the acoustic model is applied to an ensemble of perturbed oceanic conditions. TL outputs are used to formulate both a statistical linear operator based on canonical correlation analysis (CCA), and a neural network-based (NN) operator. For the latter, two linearization strategies are compared, the best-performing one relying on reverse-mode automatic differentiation. The new observation operator is applied in data assimilation experiments over the Ligurian Sea (Mediterranean Sea), using the Observing System Simulation Experiments (OSSE) methodology to assess the impact of TL observations onto oceanic fields. TL observations are extracted from a nature run with perturbed surface boundary conditions and stochastic ocean physics. Sensitivity analyses indicate that the NN reconstruction of TL is significantly better than CCA. Both CCA and NN are able to improve the upper ocean skill scores in forecast experiments, with NN outperforming CCA on the average. The use of the NN observation operator is computationally affordable, and its general formulation appears promising for the adjoint-free assimilation of any remote sensing observing network.

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Andrea Storto, Matthew J. Martin, Bruno Deremble, and Simona Masina

Abstract

Coupled data assimilation is emerging as a target approach for Earth system prediction and reanalysis systems. Coupled data assimilation may be indeed able to minimize unbalanced air–sea initialization and maximize the intermedium propagation of observations. Here, we use a simplified framework where a global ocean general circulation model (NEMO) is coupled to an atmospheric boundary layer model [Cheap Atmospheric Mixed Layer (CheapAML)], which includes prognostic prediction of near-surface air temperature and moisture and allows for thermodynamic but not dynamic air–sea coupling. The control vector of an ocean variational data assimilation system is augmented to include 2-m atmospheric parameters. Cross-medium balances are formulated either through statistical cross covariances from monthly anomalies or through the application of linearized air–sea flux relationships derived from the tangent linear approximation of bulk formulas, which represents a novel solution to the coupled assimilation problem. As a proof of concept, the methodology is first applied to study the impact of in situ ocean observing networks on the near-surface atmospheric analyses and later to the complementary study of the impact of 2-m air observations on sea surface parameters, to assess benefits of strongly versus weakly coupled data assimilation. Several forecast experiments have been conducted for the period from June to December 2011. We find that especially after day 2 of the forecasts, strongly coupled data assimilation provides a beneficial impact, particularly in the tropical oceans. In most areas, the use of linearized air–sea balances outperforms the statistical relationships used, providing a motivation for implementing coupled tangent linear trajectories in four-dimensional variational data assimilation systems. Further impacts of strongly coupled data assimilation might be found by retuning the background error covariances.

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Takeshi Doi, Andrea Storto, Swadhin K. Behera, Antonio Navarra, and Toshio Yamagata

Abstract

The numerical seasonal prediction system using the Scale Interaction Experiment–Frontier version 1 (SINTEX-F) ocean–atmosphere coupled model has so far demonstrated a good performance for prediction of the Indian Ocean dipole mode (IOD) despite the fact that the system adopts a relatively simple initialization scheme based on nudging only the sea surface temperature (SST). However, it is to be expected that the system is not sufficient to capture in detail the subsurface oceanic precondition. Therefore, the authors have introduced a new three-dimensional variational ocean data assimilation (3DVAR) method that takes three-dimensional observed ocean temperature and salinity into account. Since the new system has successfully improved IOD predictions, the present study is showing that the ocean observational efforts in the tropical Indian Ocean are decisive for improvement of the IOD predictions and may have a large impact on important socioeconomic activities, particularly in the Indian Ocean rim countries.

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Wenjing Jia, Dong Wang, Nadia Pinardi, Simona Simoncelli, Andrea Storto, and Simona Masina

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A quality control (QC) procedure is developed to estimate monthly mean climatologies from the large Argo dataset (2005–12) over the North Pacific western boundary current region. In addition to the individual QC procedure, which checks for instrumental, transmission, and gross errors, the paper describes and shows the impact of climatological checks (collective QC) on the quality of both processed profiles and resultant climatological distributions. Objective analysis (OA) is applied progressively to produce the gridded climatological fields. The method uses horizontal regional climatological averages defined in five regime-oriented subregions in the Kuroshio area and the Japan Sea. Performing the QC procedure on specific coherent subregions produces improved profiling data and climatological fields because more details about the local hydrodynamics are taken into consideration. Nonrepresentative data and random noises are more effectively rejected by this method, which has value both in defining a climatological mean and identifying outlier data. Assessing with both profiling and coordinated datasets, the agreement is reasonably good (particularly for those areas with abundant observations), but the results (although already smoothed) can capture more detailed or mesoscale features for further regional studies. The method described has the potential to meet future challenges in processing accumulating Argo observations in the coming decades.

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Roberto Buizza, Paul Poli, Michel Rixen, Magdalena Alonso-Balmaseda, Michael G. Bosilovich, Stefan Brönnimann, Gilbert P. Compo, Dick P. Dee, Franco Desiato, Marie Doutriaux-Boucher, Masatomo Fujiwara, Andrea K. Kaiser-Weiss, Shinya Kobayashi, Zhiquan Liu, Simona Masina, Pierre-Philippe Mathieu, Nick Rayner, Carolin Richter, Sonia I. Seneviratne, Adrian J. Simmons, Jean-Noel Thépaut, Jeffrey D. Auger, Michel Bechtold, Ellen Berntell, Bo Dong, Michal Kozubek, Khaled Sharif, Christopher Thomas, Semjon Schimanke, Andrea Storto, Matthias Tuma, Ilona Välisuo, and Alireza Vaselali
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