On the benefit of sea level assimilation in the tropical Pacific

Fischer, M., Latif, Mojib, Flügel, M. and Ji, M. (1995) On the benefit of sea level assimilation in the tropical Pacific MPI-Report, 170 . Max-Planck-Institut für Meteorologie, Hamburg, Germany.

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Abstract

The EL Nino-Southern Oscillation phenomenon (ENSO) is an interannual perturbation of the climate system. It is characterized by a weakening of the trade winds and a warming of the sea surface temperature in the equatorial Pacific. ENSO occurs every 4-7 years and its impacts are felt worldwide. Recently, coupled ocean-atmosphere models have been used to describe ENSO and to predict it at lead times up to one to two years. The predictability of Enso is determined by the oceanic part of the coupled system. For forecasts, the accuracy of the initial state from which the prediction is started is crucial. Hence, data assimilation into ocean models should be a powerful tool to improve ENSO forecasts. The two different types of observational data, most relevant for ENSO predictions are temperature measurements down to a depth of a few hundred meters and sea level observations. In general the accuracy of temperature measurements is quite good and they contain the required information to initialize a coupled ocean atmosphere forecast system. However, these data are mainly taken from ships or buoys which may lead to poor spatial and temporal data coverage in certain areas. In contrast, sea level data are available almost continuously in space and time since they can be measured with good accuracy by satellites. In principle they both contain the ENSO signal, and it is an interesting question, whether the impact on ENSO forecasts is comparable for both types of data. (orig.)

Document Type: Book
Keywords: Meteorology; Climatology; OCEAN-ATMOSPHERE MODEL: M ; PRIMITIVE EQUATION MODEL ; EL NINO-SOUTHERN OSCILLATION PHENOMENON ; ENSO FORECASTS ; OBSERVATIONAL DATA ; TEMPERATURE MEASUREMENT ; SEA LEVEL OBSERVATIONS ;
Date Deposited: 22 Feb 2012 10:07
Last Modified: 22 Feb 2012 10:07
URI: http://eprints.uni-kiel.de/id/eprint/13759

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