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Paul M. Barker and Trevor J. McDougall

Abstract

Both observed and averaged oceanographic data often contain regions with density inversions. This paper presents two methods of stabilizing a water column. The first method is intended for use with observed data; it minimally adjusts Absolute Salinity while leaving the values of in situ temperature unchanged. The second method adjusts the values of both Absolute Salinity and Conservative Temperature, and these adjustments are made in such a way as to cause the least possible damage to the water-mass structure of the vertical cast.

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Paul M. Barker and Trevor J. McDougall

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Two interpolation methods are presented, both of which use multiple Piecewise Cubic Hermite Interpolating Polynomials (PCHIPs). The first method is based on performing 16 PCHIPs on 8 rotated versions of the plot of the data versus an independent variable (such as pressure or time). These 16 PCHIPs are then used to form 8 interpolations of the original data, and finally, these 8 are averaged. When the original data are unevenly spaced with respect to the independent variable, we show that it is best to perform the Multiply-Rotated PCHIP (MR-PCHIP) method using the “data index” as the independent variable, and then to subsequently perform one last PCHIP of the data index with respect to the original independent variable. This MR-PCHIP method avoids the flat spots that are a feature of the PCHIP method when the data have multiple values approximately equal to a local extreme value. The MR-PCHIP interpolated data have continuous first derivatives at the data points. This method also avoids the unrealistic overshoots that can occur when using the standard cubic spline interpolation procedure. The second interpolation method is designed specifically for hydrographic data with the aim of minimizing the formation of unrealistic water masses by the interpolation procedure. This is achieved by applying a Piecewise Cubic Hermite Interpolating Polynomial to each of 8 rotations of the salinity versus temperature plot (Multiply-Rotated Salinity–Temperature PCHIP, MRST-PCHIP) with bottle number (that is, data index) as the vertical interpolating coordinate, thereby making the MRST-PCHIP method independent of the heave of a water column. This method is equivalent to interpolating in the salinity–temperature diagram, and MRST-PCHIP proves very effective at avoiding the production of anomalous water masses that otherwise occur when interpolating temperature and salinity separately.

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Paul M. Barker, Jeff R. Dunn, Catia M. Domingues, and Susan E. Wijffels

Abstract

In recent years, autonomous profiling floats have become the prime component of the in situ ocean observing system through the implementation of the Argo program. These data are now the dominant input to estimates of the evolution of the global ocean heat content and associated thermosteric sea level rise. The Autonomous Profiling Explorer (APEX) is the dominant type of Argo float (~62%), and a large portion of these floats report pressure measurements that are uncorrected for sensor drift, the size and source of which are described herein. The remaining Argo float types are designed to automatically self-correct for any pressure drift. Only about 57% of the APEX float profiles (or ~38% Argo profiles) can be corrected, but this typically has not been done by the data centers that distribute the data (as of January 2009). A pressure correction method for APEX floats is described and applied to the Argo dataset. A comparison between estimates using the corrected Argo dataset and the publically available uncorrected dataset (as of January 2009) reveals that the pressure corrections remove significant regional errors from ocean temperature, salinity, and thermosteric sea level fields. In the global mean, 43% of uncorrectable APEX float profiles (or ~28% Argo profiles) appear to largely offset the effect of the correctable APEX float profiles with positive pressure drifts. While about half of the uncorrectable APEX profiles can, in principle, be recovered in the near future (after inclusion of technical information that allows for corrections), the other half have negative pressure drifts truncated to zero (resulting from firmware limitations), which do not allow for corrections. Therefore, any Argo pressure profile that cannot be corrected for biases should be excluded from global change research. This study underscores the ongoing need for careful analyses to detect and remove subtle but systematic errors in ocean observations.

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Yandong Lang, Geoffrey J. Stanley, Trevor J. McDougall, and Paul M. Barker

Abstract

We present a new method to calculate the neutral density of an arbitrary water parcel. Using this method, the value of neutral density depends only on the parcel’s salinity, temperature, latitude, and longitude and is independent of the pressure (or depth) of the parcel, and is therefore independent of heave in observations or high-resolution models. In this method we move the parcel adiabatically and isentropically like a submesoscale coherent vortex (SCV) to its level of neutral buoyancy on four nearby water columns of a climatological atlas. The parcel’s neutral density γ SCV is interpolated from prelabeled neutral density values at these four reference locations in the climatological atlas. This method is similar to the neutral density variable γ n of Jackett and McDougall: their discretization of the neutral relationship equated the potential density of two parcels referenced to their average pressure, whereas our discretization equates the parcels’ potential density referenced to the pressure of the climatological parcel. We calculate the numerical differences between γ SCV and γ n, and we find similar variations of γ n and γ SCV on the ω surfaces of Klocker, McDougall, and Jackett. We also find that isosurfaces of γ n and γ SCV deviate from the neutral tangent plane by similar amounts. We compare the material derivative of γ SCV with that of γ n, finding their total material derivatives are of a similar magnitude.

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Trevor J. McDougall, Paul M. Barker, Rainer Feistel, and Ben K. Galton-Fenzi

Abstract

The thermodynamic consequences of the melting of ice and sea ice into seawater are considered. The International Thermodynamic Equation Of Seawater—2010 (TEOS-10) is used to derive the changes in the Conservative Temperature and Absolute Salinity of seawater that occurs as a consequence of the melting of ice and sea ice into seawater. Also, a study of the thermodynamic relationships involved in the formation of frazil ice enables the calculation of the magnitudes of the Conservative Temperature and Absolute Salinity changes with pressure when frazil ice is present in a seawater parcel, assuming that the frazil ice crystals are sufficiently small that their relative vertical velocity can be ignored. The main results of this paper are the equations that describe the changes to these quantities when ice and seawater interact, and these equations can be evaluated using computer software that the authors have developed and is publicly available in the Gibbs SeaWater (GSW) Oceanographic Toolbox of TEOS-10.

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Susan E. Wijffels, Josh Willis, Catia M. Domingues, Paul Barker, Neil J. White, Ann Gronell, Ken Ridgway, and John A. Church

Abstract

A time-varying warm bias in the global XBT data archive is demonstrated to be largely due to changes in the fall rate of XBT probes likely associated with small manufacturing changes at the factory. Deep-reaching XBTs have a different fall rate history than shallow XBTs. Fall rates were fastest in the early 1970s, reached a minimum between 1975 and 1985, reached another maximum in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and have been declining since. Field XBT/CTD intercomparisons and a pseudoprofile technique based on satellite altimetry largely confirm this time history. A global correction is presented and applied to estimates of the thermosteric component of sea level rise. The XBT fall rate minimum from 1975 to 1985 appears as a 10-yr “warm period” in the global ocean in thermosteric sea level and heat content estimates using uncorrected data. Upon correction, the thermosteric sea level curve has reduced decadal variability and a larger, steadier long-term trend.

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Juanzhen Sun, Ming Xue, James W. Wilson, Isztar Zawadzki, Sue P. Ballard, Jeanette Onvlee-Hooimeyer, Paul Joe, Dale M. Barker, Ping-Wah Li, Brian Golding, Mei Xu, and James Pinto

Traditionally, the nowcasting of precipitation was conducted to a large extent by means of extrapolation of observations, especially of radar ref lectivity. In recent years, the blending of traditional extrapolation-based techniques with high-resolution numerical weather prediction (NWP) is gaining popularity in the nowcasting community. The increased need of NWP products in nowcasting applications poses great challenges to the NWP community because the nowcasting application of high-resolution NWP has higher requirements on the quality and content of the initial conditions compared to longer-range NWP. Considerable progress has been made in the use of NWP for nowcasting thanks to the increase in computational resources, advancement of high-resolution data assimilation techniques, and improvement of convective-permitting numerical modeling. This paper summarizes the recent progress and discusses some of the challenges for future advancement.

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