Production and Analysis of a Southern Ocean State Estimate

Matthew R. Mazloff, S.M., 2006
Carl Wunsch, Advisor

A modern general circulation model of the Southern Ocean with one-sixth of a degree resolution is optimized to the observed ocean in a weighted least squares sense. Convergence toward the state estimate solution is carried out by systematically adjusting the control variables (prescribed atmospheric state, initial conditions, and open northern boundary at 24.7°) using the adjoint method. A cost function compares the model state to data from CTD synoptic sections, hydrogrpahic climatology, satellite altimetry, and XBTs. Costs attributed to control variable perturbations ensure a physically realistic solution. An optimized solution is determined by the weights placed on the cost function terms. The state estimation procedure, along with the weights used, is described. A significant result is that the adjoint method is shown to work at eddy-permitting resolution in the highly-energetic Southern Ocean. At the time of the writing of this thesis the state estimate was not fully consistent with the observations. An analysis of the remaining misfit, as well as the mass transport in the preliminary state, is presented.