Davidson, F., Alvera-Azcárate, A., Barth, A., Brassington, G. B., Chassignet, E. P., Clementi, E., et al. (2019). Synergies in Operational Oceanography: The Intrinsic Need for Sustained Ocean Observations.
Front. Mar. Sci., 6.
Abstract: Operational oceanography can be described as the provision of routine oceanographic information needed for decision-making purposes. It is dependent upon sustained research and development through the end-to-end framework of an operational service, from observation collection to delivery mechanisms. The core components of operational oceanographic systems are a multi-platform observation network, a data management system, a data assimilative prediction system, and a dissemination/accessibility system. These are interdependent, necessitating communication and exchange between them, and together provide the mechanism through which a clear picture of ocean conditions, in the past, present, and future, can be seen. Ocean observations play a critical role in all aspects of operational oceanography, not only for assimilation but as part of the research cycle, and for verification and validation of products. Data assimilative prediction systems are advancing at a fast pace, in tandem with improved science and the growth in computing power. To make best use of the system capability these advances would be matched by equivalent advances in operational observation coverage. This synergy between the prediction and observation systems underpins the quality of products available to stakeholders, and justifies the need for sustained ocean observations. In this white paper, the components of an operational oceanographic system are described, highlighting the critical role of ocean observations, and how the operational systems will evolve over the next decade to improve the characterization of ocean conditions, including at finer spatial and temporal scales.
Jackson, L. C., Dubois, C., Forget, G., Haines, K., Harrison, M., Iovino, D., et al. (2019). The Mean State and Variability of the North Atlantic Circulation: A Perspective From Ocean Reanalyses.
J. Geophys. Res. Oceans, 124(12), 8969–9003.
Abstract: The transfer of Indian Ocean thermocline and intermediate waters into the South Atlantic via the Agulhas leakage is generally believed to be primarily accomplished through mesoscale eddy processes, essentially anticyclones known as Agulhas Rings. Here we take advantage of a recent eddy tracking algorithm and Argo float profiles to study the evolution and the thermohaline structure of one of these eddies over the course of 1.5 years (May 2013–November 2014). We found that during this period the ring evolved according to two different phases: During the first one, taking place in winter, the mixing layer in the eddy deepened significantly. During the second phase, the eddy subsided below the upper warmer layer of the South Atlantic subtropical gyre while propagating west. The separation of this eddy from the sea surface could explain the decrease in its surface signature in satellite altimetry maps, suggesting that such changes are not due to eddy dissipation processes. It is a very large eddy (7.1×1013 m3 in volume), extending, after subduction, from a depth of 200–1,200 m and characterized by two mode water cores. The two mode water cores represent the largest eddy heat and salt anomalies when compared with the surrounding. In terms of its impact over 1 year, the north‐westward propagation of this long‐lived anticyclone induces a transport of 2.2 Sv of water, 0.008 PW of heat, and 2.2×105 kg s−1 of salt. These results confirm that Agulhas Rings play a very important role in the Indo‐Atlantic interocean exchange of heat and salt.