Observing system evaluation based on ocean data assimilation and prediction systems: On-going challenges and future vision for designing/supporting ocean observational networks

Yosuke Fujii, Elisabeth Remy, Hao Zuo, Peter R. Oke, George R. Halliwell, Florent Gasparin, Mounir Benkiran, Nora Loose, James Cummings, Jiping Xie, Yan Xue, Shuhei Masuda, Gregory C. Smith, Magdalena A. Balmaseda, Cyril Germineaud, Daniel J. Lea, Gilles Larnicol, Laurent Bertino, Antonio Bonaduce, Pierre BrasseurCraig Donlon, Patrick Heimbach, Young Ho Kim, Villy Kourafalou, Pierre Yves Le Traon, Matthew J. Martin, Shastri Paturi, Benoît Tranchant, Norihisa Usui

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


This paper demonstrates the value of Observing System Evaluation (OS-Eval) efforts which have been made or are ongoing to contribute to observing system review and design with the support of Ocean Data Assimilation and Prediction (ODAP) communities such as GODAE OceanView and CLIVAR-GSOP, by highlighting examples that illustrate the potential of the related OS-Eval methodologies and recent achievements. For instance, Observing System Experiment (OSE) studies illustrate the impacts of the severe decrease in the number of TAO buoys during 2012-2014 and TRITON buoys since 2013 on ODAP system performance. Multi-system evaluation of the impacts of assimilating satellite sea surface salinity data based on OSEs has been performed to demonstrate the need to continue and enhance satellite salinity missions. Impacts of underwater gliders have been assessed using Observing System Simulation Experiments (OSSEs) to provide guidance on effective coordination of the western North Atlantic observing system elements. OSSEs are also being performed under H2020 AtlantOS project with the goal to enhance and optimize the Atlantic in-situ networks. Potential of future satellite missions of wide-swash altimetry and surface ocean currents monitoring is explored through OSSEs and evaluation of Degrees of Freedom for Signal (DFS). Forecast Sensitivity Observation Impacts (FSOI) are routinely evaluated for monitoring the ocean observation impacts in the US Navy's ODAP system. Perspective on the extension of OS-Eval to the deep ocean, polar regions, coupled data assimilation, and biogeochemical applications are also presented. Based on the examples above, we identify the limitations of OS-Eval, indicating that the most significant limitation is reduction of robustness and reliability of the results due to their system-dependency. Inability of performing evaluation in near real time is also critical. A strategy to mitigate the limitation and to strengthen the impact of evaluations is discussed. In particular, we emphasize the importance of collaboration within the ODAP community for multi-system evaluation and communication with ocean observational communities on the design of OS-Eval, required resources, and effective distribution of the results. Finally, we recommend to further develop OS-Eval activities at international level with the support of the international ODAP (e.g., OceanPredict and CLIVAR-GSOP) and observational communities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number417
JournalFrontiers in Marine Science
Issue numberJUL
StatePublished - 2019


  • GODAE OceanView
  • OSE (Observing System Experiment)
  • OSSE (observing system simulation experiment)
  • Observing system evaluation
  • Ocean data assimilation
  • Ocean prediction
  • OceanPredict

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Aquatic Science
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Ocean Engineering


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