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Data assimilation for marine monitoring and prediction: The MERCATOR operational assimilation systems and the MERSEA developments

Brasseur, P., Bahurel, P., Bertino, L., Birol, F., Brankart, J.-M., Ferry, N., Losa, S., Remy, E., Schröter, J., Skachko, S., Testut, C.-E., Tranchant, B., Van Leeuwen, P. J. and Verron, J. (2005) Data assimilation for marine monitoring and prediction: The MERCATOR operational assimilation systems and the MERSEA developments. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, 131 (613). pp. 3561-3582. ISSN 1477-870X

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1256/qj.05.142


During the past 15 years, a number of initiatives have been undertaken at national level to develop ocean forecasting systems operating at regional and/or global scales. The co-ordination between these efforts has been organized internationally through the Global Ocean Data Assimilation Experiment (GODAE). The French MERCATOR project is one of the leading participants in GODAE. The MERCATOR systems routinely assimilate a variety of observations such as multi-satellite altimeter data, sea-surface temperature and in situ temperature and salinity profiles, focusing on high-resolution scales of the ocean dynamics. The assimilation strategy in MERCATOR is based on a hierarchy of methods of increasing sophistication including optimal interpolation, Kalman filtering and variational methods, which are progressively deployed through the Syst`eme d’Assimilation MERCATOR (SAM) series. SAM-1 is based on a reduced-order optimal interpolation which can be operated using ‘altimetry-only’ or ‘multi-data’ set-ups; it relies on the concept of separability, assuming that the correlations can be separated into a product of horizontal and vertical contributions. The second release, SAM-2, is being developed to include new features from the singular evolutive extended Kalman (SEEK) filter, such as three-dimensional, multivariate error modes and adaptivity schemes. The third one, SAM-3, considers variational methods such as the incremental four-dimensional variational algorithm. Most operational forecasting systems evaluated during GODAE are based on least-squares statistical estimation assuming Gaussian errors. In the framework of the EU MERSEA (Marine EnviRonment and Security for the European Area) project, research is being conducted to prepare the next-generation operational ocean monitoring and forecasting systems. The research effort will explore nonlinear assimilation formulations to overcome limitations of the current systems. This paper provides an overview of the developments conducted in MERSEA with the SEEK filter, the Ensemble Kalman filter and the sequential importance re-sampling filter.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:7294
Uncontrolled Keywords:GODAE; Operational ocean forecasting
Publisher:Royal Meteorological Society

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