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Lagrangian validation of numerical drifter trajectories using drifting buoys: Application to the Agulhas system

van Sebille, E., Van Leeuwen, P. J., Biastoch, A., Barron, C.N. and de Ruijter, W.P.M. (2009) Lagrangian validation of numerical drifter trajectories using drifting buoys: Application to the Agulhas system. Ocean Modelling, 29 (4). pp. 269-276. ISSN 1463-5003

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.ocemod.2009.05.005


The skill of numerical Lagrangian drifter trajectories in three numerical models is assessed by comparing these numerically obtained paths to the trajectories of drifting buoys in the real ocean. The skill assessment is performed using the two-sample Kolmogorov–Smirnov statistical test. To demonstrate the assessment procedure, it is applied to three different models of the Agulhas region. The test can either be performed using crossing positions of one-dimensional sections in order to test model performance in specific locations, or using the total two-dimensional data set of trajectories. The test yields four quantities: a binary decision of model skill, a confidence level which can be used as a measure of goodness-of-fit of the model, a test statistic which can be used to determine the sensitivity of the confidence level, and cumulative distribution functions that aid in the qualitative analysis. The ordering of models by their confidence levels is the same as the ordering based on the qualitative analysis, which suggests that the method is suited for model validation. Only one of the three models, a 1/10° two-way nested regional ocean model, might have skill in the Agulhas region. The other two models, a 1/2° global model and a 1/8° assimilative model, might have skill only on some sections in the region

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:7283
Uncontrolled Keywords:Numerical Lagrangian drifters; Model validation; Kolmogorov–Smirnov statistics; Drifting buoys
Publisher:Elsevier Inc.

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