Assimilation of drifter observations in primitive equation models of midlatitude ocean circulation

Tamay M. Özgökmen, Anne Molcard, Toshio M. Chin, Leonid I. Piterberg, Annalisa Griffa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Motivated by increases in the realism of OGCMs and the number of drifting buoys in the ocean observing system, a new Lagrangian assimilation technique is implemented in an idealized, reduced-gravity configuration of the layered primitive equation model MICOM. Using an extensive set of twin experiments, the effectiveness of the Lagrangian observation operator and of a dynamical balancing technique for corrected model variables, which is based on geostrophy and mass conservation, are explored in comparison to a conventional Pseudo-Lagrangian observation operator and an implementation of the Kalman filter method. The results clearly illustrate that the Lagrangian observation operator is superior to the Pseudo-Lagrangian in the parameter range that is relevant for typical oceanic drifter observations, and that the simple dynamical balancing technique works well for midlatitude ocean circulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)31-1 - 31-17
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Oceans
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 15 2003


  • Data assimilation
  • Drifter assimilation
  • Lagrangian data assimilation
  • Ocean modeling
  • Ocean prediction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Oceanography


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