Surface Kinetic Energy Distributions in the Global Oceans From a High-Resolution Numerical Model and Surface Drifter Observations

Xiaolong Yu, Aurélien L. Ponte, Shane Elipot, Dimitris Menemenlis, Edward D. Zaron, Ryan Abernathey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

The surface kinetic energy of a 1/48° global ocean simulation and its distribution as a function of frequency and location are compared with the one estimated from 15,329 globally distributed surface drifter observations at hourly resolution. These distributions follow similar patterns with a dominant low-frequency component and well-defined tidal and near-inertial peaks globally. Quantitative differences are identified with deficits of low-frequency energy near the equator (factor 2) and at near-inertial frequencies (factor 3) and an excess of energy at semidiurnal frequencies (factor 4) for the model. Owing to its hourly resolution and its near-global spatial coverage, the array of surface drifters is an invaluable tool to evaluate the realism of tide-resolving high-resolution ocean simulations used in observing system simulation experiments. Sources of bias between model and drifter data are discussed, and associated leads for future work highlighted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9757-9766
Number of pages10
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Volume46
Issue number16
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 28 2019

Keywords

  • LLC4320
  • rotary spectrum
  • surface drifter
  • SWOT

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

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