The complementary value of XBT and argo observations to monitor ocean boundary currents and meridional heat and volume transports: A case study in the Atlantic ocean

Marlos Goes, Gustavo Goni, Shenfu Dong, Timothy Boyer, Molly Baringer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

This work assesses the value of expendable bathythermograph (XBT) and Argo profiling float observations to monitor the Atlantic Ocean boundary current systems (BCS), meridional overturning circulation (MOC), and meridional heat transport (MHT). Data from six XBT transects and available Argo floats in the Atlantic Ocean for the period from 2000 to 2018 are used to estimate the structure and variability of the BCS, MOC, and MHT, taking into account different temporal and spatial mapping strategies. The comparison of Argo data density along these six XBT transects shows that Argo observations outnumber XBT observations only above mapping scales of 30 days and 38 boxes. The comparison of Argo and XBT data for the Brazil Current and Gulf Stream shows that Argo cannot reproduce the structure and variability of these currents, as it lacks sufficient resolution to resolve the gradients across these narrow jets. For the MHT and MOC, Argo estimates are similar to those produced by XBTs at a coarse mapping resolution of 58 and 30 days. However, at such a coarse resolution the root-mean-square errors calculated for both XBT and Argo estimates relative to a high-resolution baseline are higher than 3 Sv (1 Sv ☰ 106 m3 s21) and 0.25 PW for the MOC and MHT, respectively, accounting for about 25%–30% of their mean values due to the smoothing of eddy variability along the transects. A key result of this study is that using Argo and XBT data jointly, rather than separately, improves the estimates of MHT, MOC, and BCS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2267-2282
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology
Volume37
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2020

Keywords

  • Boundary currents
  • Error analysis
  • In situ oceanic observations
  • Mass fluxes/transport
  • Oceanic variability
  • Sampling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ocean Engineering
  • Atmospheric Science

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