Estimating ocean transports with dynamic height moorings: An application in the Atlantic Deep Western Boundary Current at 26°N

William E. Johns, Torsten Kanzow, Rainer Zantopp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

30 Scopus citations

Abstract

Efficient monitoring of large-scale current systems for climate research requires the development of new techniques to estimate ocean transports. Here, a methodology for continuous estimation of dynamic height profiles and geostrophic currents from moored temperature sensors is presented. The technique is applied to moorings deployed in the Atlantic Deep Western Boundary Current at 26.5°N, off Abaco, the Bahamas (WOCE ACM-1 array). Relative geostrophic currents are referenced using bottom pressure sensors and available shipboard direct velocity (lowered-ADCP) sections over the period of the deployment, to obtain a time series of absolute volume transport. Comparison with direct velocity measurements from a complete array of current meters shows good agreement for the mean transport and its variablity on time scales longer than 10 days, but larger variability in the current meter derived transport at time scales shorter than 10 days. A rigorous error analysis assesses the contributions of various error sources in the geostrophic as well as direct transport estimates. Low-frequency drift of the bottom pressure sensors is found to be the largest error source in the geostrophic transport estimates and recommendations for improvement of the technique and related measurement technologies are made.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1542-1567
Number of pages26
JournalDeep-Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers
Volume52
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2005

Keywords

  • Boundary currents
  • Dynamic height
  • Geostrophic velocity
  • Transport monitoring
  • Volume transport

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science

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