Reconstructing Upper Ocean Vertical Velocity Field from Sea Surface Height in the Presence of Unbalanced Motion

Type Article
Date 2020-01
Language English
Author(s) Qiu Bo1, Chen Shuiming1, Klein Patrice2, 3, Torres Hector2, Wang Jinbo2, Fu Lee-Lueng2, Menemenlis Dimitris2
Affiliation(s) 1 : Department of Oceanography, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA
2 : Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California, USA
3 : Université de Brest, CNRS, IRD, Ifremer, LOPS, Plouzané, France
Source Journal Of Physical Oceanography (0022-3670) (American Meteorological Society), 2020-01 , Vol. 50 , N. 1 , P. 55-79
DOI 10.1175/JPO-D-19-0172.1
WOS© Times Cited 8
Keyword(s) Eddies, Mesoscale processes, Ocean dynamics, Vertical motion, Altimetry

Reconstructability of upper ocean vertical velocity (w) and vorticity (ζ) fields from high-resolution sea surface height (SSH) data is explored using the global 1/48° horizontal-resolution MITgcm output in the context of the forth-coming Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) mission. By decomposing w with an omega equation of the primitive-equation system and by taking into account the measurement design of the SWOT mission, this study seeks to reconstruct the subinertial, balanced w and ζ signals. By adopting the effective surface quasi-geostrophic (eSQG) framework and applying to the Kuroshio Extension region of the North Pacific, we find that the target and reconstructed fields have a spatial correlation of ~0.7 below the mixed layer for w and 0.7 ~ 0.9 throughout the 1000m upper ocean for ζ in the error-free scenario. By taking the SWOT sampling and measurement errors into account, the spatial correlation is found to decrease to 0.4 ~ 0.6 below the mixed layer for w and 0.6 ~ 0.7 for ζ, respectively. For both w and ζ reconstruction, the degradation due to the SWOT errors is more significant in the surface layer and for smaller-scale signals. The impact of errors lessens with the increasing depth and lengthening horizontal scales.

Full Text
File Pages Size Access
Publisher's official version 57 17 MB Open access
Top of the page

How to cite 

Qiu Bo, Chen Shuiming, Klein Patrice, Torres Hector, Wang Jinbo, Fu Lee-Lueng, Menemenlis Dimitris (2020). Reconstructing Upper Ocean Vertical Velocity Field from Sea Surface Height in the Presence of Unbalanced Motion. Journal Of Physical Oceanography, 50(1), 55-79. Publisher's official version : , Open Access version :