Combining observations from multiple platforms across the Kuroshio northeast of Luzon : a highlight on PIES data

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Mensah, Vigan
Andres, Magdalena
Lien, Ren-Chieh
Ma, Barry
Lee, Craig M.
Jan, Sen
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Boundary currents
Data processing
In situ oceanic observations
Inverse methods
Time series
This study presents amended procedures to process and map data collected by pressure-sensor-equipped inverted echo sounders (PIESs) in western boundary current regions. The modifications to the existing methodology, applied to observations of the Kuroshio from a PIES array deployed northeast of Luzon, Philippines, consist of substituting a hydrography-based mean travel time field for the PIES-based mean field and using two distinct gravest empirical mode (GEM) lookup tables across the front that separate water masses of South China Sea and North Pacific origin. In addition, this study presents a method to use time-mean velocities from acoustic Doppler current profilers (ADCPs) to reference (or “level”) the PIES-recorded pressures in order to obtain time series of absolute geostrophic velocity. Results derived from the PIES observations processed with the hydrography-based mean field and two GEMs are compared with hydrographic profiles sampled by Seagliders during the PIES observation period and with current velocity measured concurrently by a collocated ADCP array. The updated processing scheme leads to a 41% error decrease in the determination of the thermocline depth across the current, a 22% error decrease in baroclinic current velocity shear, and a 61% error decrease in baroclinic volume transports. The absolute volume transport time series derived from the leveled PIES array compares well with that obtained directly from the ADCPs with a root-mean-square difference of 3.0 Sv (1 Sv ≡ 106 m3 s–1), which is mainly attributed to the influence of ageostrophic processes on the ADCP-measured velocities that cannot be calculated from the PIES observations.
Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2016. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology 33 (2016): 2185-2203, doi:10.1175/JTECH-D-16-0095.1.
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Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology 33 (2016): 2185-2203
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