Assessing the Impact of the Assimilation of SWOT Observations in a Global High-Resolution Analysis and Forecasting System – Part 2: Results

Type Article
Date 2021-08
Language English
Author(s) Tchonang Babette C.1, Benkiran Mounir1, Le Traon Pierre-Yves1, 2, Jan Van Gennip Simon1, Lellouche Jean Michel1, Ruggiero Giovanni1
Affiliation(s) 1 : Mercator Ocean International, Toulouse, France
2 : Ifremer, Plouzané, France
Source Frontiers In Marine Science (2296-7745) (Frontiers Media SA), 2021-08 , Vol. 8 , P. 687414 (18p.)
DOI 10.3389/fmars.2021.687414
WOS© Times Cited 2
Keyword(s) SWOT, nadir altimeters, global modeling, data assimilation, OSSE

A first attempt was made to quantify the impact of the assimilation of Surface Water Ocean Topography (SWOT) swath altimeter data in a global 1/12° high resolution analysis and forecasting system through a series of Observing System Simulation Experiments (OSSEs). The OSSE framework (Nature Run and Free Run) and data assimilation scheme have been described in detail in a companion article (Benkiran et al., 2021). The impact of assimilating data from SWOT and three nadir altimeters was quantified by estimating analysis and forecast error variances for sea surface height (SSH), temperature, salinity, zonal, and meridional velocities. Wave-number spectra and coherence analyses of SSH errors were also computed. SWOT data will significantly improve the quality of ocean analyses and forecasts. Adding SWOT observations to those of three nadir altimeters globally reduces the variance of SSH and surface velocities in analyses and forecasts by about 30 and 20%, respectively. Improvements are greater in high-latitude regions where space/time coverage of SWOT is much denser. The combination of SWOT data with data from three nadir altimeters provides a better resolution of wavelengths between 50 and 200 km with a more than 40% improvement outside tropical regions with respect to data from three nadir altimeters alone. The study has also highlighted that the impact of using SWOT data is likely to be very different depending on geographical areas. Constraining smaller spatial scales (wavelengths below 100 km) remains challenging as they are also associated with small time scales. Although this is only a first step, the study has demonstrated that SWOT data could be readily assimilated in a global high-resolution analysis and forecasting system with a positive impact at all latitudes and outstanding performances.

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Tchonang Babette C., Benkiran Mounir, Le Traon Pierre-Yves, Jan Van Gennip Simon, Lellouche Jean Michel, Ruggiero Giovanni (2021). Assessing the Impact of the Assimilation of SWOT Observations in a Global High-Resolution Analysis and Forecasting System – Part 2: Results. Frontiers In Marine Science, 8, 687414 (18p.). Publisher's official version : , Open Access version :