OSSE quantitative assessment of rapid-response prestorm ocean surveys to improve coupled tropical cyclone prediction

G. R. Halliwell, M. Mehari, L. K. Shay, V. H. Kourafalou, H. Kang, H. S. Kim, J. Dong, R. Atlas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Ocean fields that initialize coupled TC prediction models must accurately represent the dynamics of mesoscale features and the associated distribution of upper ocean temperature and salinity. They must also provide unbiased realizations of upper ocean heat content and stratification. Ocean Observing System Simulation Experiments (OSSEs) are performed for three storms: Isaac, 2012; Edouard, 2014; and Gonzalo, 2014. These OSSEs assess the impact of rapid-response prestorm ocean profile surveys on improving ocean model initialization. Two types of surveys are evaluated: airborne deployments of expendable profilers and deployments of in situ thermistor chains along lines intersecting predicted storm paths. Assimilation of the existing ocean observing system substantially constrains mesoscale structure in dynamical fields, primarily because of the four available altimeters. However, these observations only modestly constrain mesoscale structure and bias in upper ocean thermal fields. Adding rapid-response airborne surveys to these observing systems produces substantial additional correction in thermal fields, but minimal additional correction in dynamical fields. Without altimetry assimilation, rapid-response profiles produce large additional correction in both dynamical and thermal fields. Airborne CTDs sampling temperature and salinity over 1000 m versus XBTs sampling temperature over 400 m produce additional correction for dynamical fields, but not for upper ocean thermal fields. Airborne surveys are generally more effective than thermistor chain deployments because they can sample a larger area at higher horizontal resolution and because the latter only measures temperature over the upper ∼100 m. Both airborne profile surveys and thermistor chain deployments effectively reduce upper ocean thermal biases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5729-5748
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Oceans
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2017


  • TC intensity prediction
  • ocean OSSE
  • ocean observations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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