On the observability of turbulent transport rates by Argo: supporting evidence from an inversion experiment
Forget, G., Ferreira, D. and Liang, X. (2015) On the observability of turbulent transport rates by Argo: supporting evidence from an inversion experiment. Ocean Science, 11 (5). pp. 839-853. ISSN 1812-0784
To link to this article DOI: 10.5194/os-11-839-2015
Although estimation of turbulent transport parameters using inverse methods is not new, there is little evaluation of the method in the literature. Here, it is shown that extended observation of the broad scale hydrography by Argo provides a path to improved estimates of regional turbulent transport rates. Results from a 20 year ocean state estimate produced with the ECCO v4 non-linear inverse modeling framework provide supporting evidence. Turbulent transport parameter maps are estimated under the constraints of fitting the extensive collection of Argo profiles collected through 2011. The adjusted parameters dramatically reduce misfits to in situ profiles as compared with earlier ECCO solutions. They also yield a clear reduction in the model drift away from observations over multi-century long simulations, both for assimilated variables (temperature and salinity) and independent variables (bio-geochemical tracers). Despite the minimal constraints imposed specifically on the estimated parameters, their geography is physically plausible and exhibits close connections with the upper ocean ocean stratification as observed by Argo. The estimated parameter adjustments furthermore have first order impacts on upper-ocean stratification and mixed layer depths over 20 years. These results identify the constraint of fitting Argo profiles as an effective observational basis for regional turbulent transport rates. Uncertainties and further improvements of the method are discussed.