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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/os-2019-53
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/os-2019-53
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 20 May 2019

Submitted as: research article | 20 May 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript is under review for the journal Ocean Science (OS).

Predictability of Non-Phase-Locked Baroclinic Tides in the Caribbean Sea

Edward D. Zaron Edward D. Zaron
  • Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Portland State University, Portland, Oregon, USA

Abstract. The predictability of the sea surface height expression of baroclinic tides is examined with 96 hr forecasts produced by the AMSEAS operational forecast model during 2013–2014. The phase-locked tide, both barotropic and baroclinic, is identified by harmonic analysis of the 2 year record and found to agree well with observations from tide gauges and satellite altimetry within the Caribbean Sea. The non-phase-locked baroclinic tide, which is created by the time-variable mesoscale stratification and currents, may be identified from residual sea level anomaly (SLA) near the tidal frequencies. The predictability of the non-phase-locked tide is assessed by measuring the difference between a forecast – centered at T+36 hr, T+60 hr, or T+84 hr – and the model's later verifying analysis for the same time. Within the Caribbean Sea, where a baroclinic tidal sea level range of ±5 cm is typical, the forecast error for the non-phase-locked tidal SLA is correlated with the forecast error for the sub-tidal (mesoscale) SLA. Root-mean-square values of the former range from 0.5 cm to 2 cm, while the latter ranges from 1 cm to 6 cm, for a typical 84 hr forecast. The spatial and temporal variability of the forecast error is related to the dynamical origins of the non-phase-locked tide and is briefly surveyed within the model.

Edward D. Zaron
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Edward D. Zaron
Edward D. Zaron
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Latest update: 23 Aug 2019
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Short summary
Ocean forecasting systems predict ocean water level, but the accuracy of predictions varies as a function of the forecast lead time and the dynamics causing water level variability. This study investigates the accuracy of predictions of tidal water levels in the AMSEAS forecast system, with emphasis on the small (roughly 5 cm) fluctuations associated with the baroclinic tide. To be useful, data from future satellites will require accurate forecasts; their accuracy is quantified in this study.
Ocean forecasting systems predict ocean water level, but the accuracy of predictions varies as a...
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