A Simple Ocean Data Assimilation Analysis of the Global Upper Ocean 195095. Part I: Methodology Academic Article uri icon


  • The authors describe a 46-year global retrospective analysis of upper-ocean temperature, salinity, and currents. The analysis is an application of the Simple Ocean Data Assimilation (SODA) package. SODA uses an ocean model based on Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory MOM2 physics. Assimilated data includes temperature and salinity profiles from the World Ocean Atlas-94 (MBT, XBT, CTD, and station data), as well as additional hydrography, sea surface temperature, and altimeter sea level. After reviewing the basic methodology the authors present experiments to examine the impact of trends in the wind field and model forecast bias (referred to in the engineering literature as 'colored noise'). The authors believe these to be the major sources of error in the retrospective analysis. With detrended winds the analysis shows a pattern of warming in the subtropics and cooling in the Tropics and at high latitudes. Model forecast bias results partly from errors in surface forcing and partly from limitations of the model. Bias is of great concern in regions of thermocline water-mass formation. In the examples discussed here, the data assimilation has the effect of increasing production of these water masses and thus reducing bias. Additional experiments examine the relative importance of winds versus subsurface updating. These experiments show that in the Tropics both winds and subsurface updating contribute to analysis temperature, while in midlatitudes the variability results mainly from the effects of subsurface updating.

published proceedings

  • Journal of Physical Oceanography

author list (cited authors)

  • Carton, J. A., Chepurin, G., Cao, X., & Giese, B.

citation count

  • 543

complete list of authors

  • Carton, James A||Chepurin, Gennady||Cao, Xianhe||Giese, Benjamin

publication date

  • February 2000