Document Type

Article

Date of Original Version

2005

Abstract

A new ocean data assimilation and initialization procedure is presented. It was developed to obtain more realistic initial ocean conditions, including the position and structure of the Gulf Stream (GS) and Loop Current (LC), in the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory/University of Rhode Island (GFDL/URI) coupled hurricane prediction system used operationally at the National Centers for Environmental Prediction. This procedure is based on a feature-modeling approach that allows a realistic simulation of the cross-frontal temperature, salinity, and velocity of oceanic fronts. While previous feature models used analytical formulas to represent frontal structures, the new procedure uses the innovative method of cross-frontal “sharpening” of the background temperature and salinity fields. The sharpening is guided by observed cross sections obtained in specialized field experiments in the GS. The ocean currents are spun up by integrating the ocean model for 2 days, which was sufficient for the velocity fields to adjust to the strong gradients of temperature and salinity in the main thermocline in the GS and LC. A new feature-modeling approach was also developed for the initialization of a multicurrent system in the Caribbean Sea, which provides the LC source. The initialization procedure is demonstrated for coupled model forecasts of Hurricane Isidore (2002).

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