Consistency and fidelity of Indonesian-throughflow total volume transport estimated by 14 ocean data assimilation products Academic Article uri icon


  • Monthly averaged total volume transport of the Indonesian throughflow (ITF) estimated by 14 global ocean data assimilation (ODA) products that are decade to multi-decade long are compared among themselves and with observations from the INSTANT Program (2004-2006). The main goals of the comparisons are to examine the consistency and evaluate the skill of different ODA products in simulating ITF transport. The ensemble averaged, time-mean value of ODA estimates is 13.6Sv (1Sv=10 6 m 3 /s) for the common 1993-2001 period and 13.9Sv for the 2004-2006 INSTANT Program period. These values are close to the 15-Sv estimate derived from INSTANT observations. All but one ODA time-mean estimate fall within the range of uncertainty of the INSTANT estimate. In terms of temporal variability, the scatter among different ODA estimates averaged over time is 1.7Sv, which is substantially smaller than the magnitude of the temporal variability simulated by the ODA systems. Therefore, the overall " signal-to-noise" ratio for the ensemble estimates is larger than one. The best consistency among the products occurs on seasonal-to-interannual time scales, with generally stronger (weaker) ITF during boreal summer (winter) and during La Nina (El Nino) events. The scatter among different products for seasonal-to-interannual time scales is approximately 1Sv. Despite the good consistency, systematic difference is found between most ODA products and the INSTANT observations. All but the highest-resolution (18km) ODA product show a dominant annual cycle while the INSTANT estimate and the 18-km product exhibit a strong semi-annual signal. The coarse resolution is an important factor that limits the level of agreement between ODA and INSTANT estimates. Decadal signals with periods of 10-15 years are seen. The most conspicuous and consistent decadal change is a relatively sharp increase in ITF transport during 1993-2000 associated with the strengthening tropical Pacific trade wind. Most products do not show a weakening ITF after the mid-1970s' associated with the weakened Pacific trade wind. The scatter of ODA estimates is smaller after than before 1980, reflecting the impact of the enhanced observations after the 1980s. To assess the representativeness of using the average over a three-year period (e.g., the span of the INSTANT Program) to describe longer-term mean, we investigate the temporal variations of the three-year low-pass ODA estimates. The average variation is about 3.6Sv, which is largely due to the increase of ITF transport from 1993 to 2000. However, the three-year average during the 2004-2006 INSTANT Program period is within 0.5Sv of the long-term mean for the past few decades. 2010 Elsevier B.V.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Lee, T., Awaji, T., Balmaseda, M., Ferry, N., Fujii, Y., Fukumori, I., ... Weaver, A.

citation count

  • 37

complete list of authors

  • Lee, Tong||Awaji, Toshiyuki||Balmaseda, Magdalena||Ferry, Nicolas||Fujii, Yosuke||Fukumori, Ichiro||Giese, Benjamin||Heimbach, Patrick||Koehl, Armin||Masina, Simona||Remy, Elisabeth||Rosati, Anthony||Schodlok, Michael||Stammer, Detlef||Weaver, Anthony

publication date

  • January 2010