An advanced method to estimate deep currents from profiling floats

Park, J.J.; Kim, K.; King, B.A.; Riser, S.C.. 2005 An advanced method to estimate deep currents from profiling floats. Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology, 22 (8). 1294-1304.

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Subsurface ocean currents can be estimated from the positions of drifting profiling floats that are being widely deployed for the international Argo program. The calculation of subsurface velocity depends on how the trajectory of the float while on the surface is treated. The following three aspects of the calculation of drift velocities are addressed: the accurate determination of surfacing and dive times, a new method for extrapolating surface and dive positions from the set of discrete Argos position fixes, and a discussion of the errors in the method. In the new method described herein, the mean drift velocity and the phase and amplitude of inertial motions are derived explicitly from a least squares fit to the set of Argos position fixes for each surface cycle separately. The new method differs from previous methods that include prior assumptions about the statistics of inertial motions. It is concluded that the endpoints of the subsurface trajectory can be estimated with accuracy better than 1.7 km (East Sea/Sea of Japan) and 0.8 km (Indian Ocean). All errors, combined with the error that results from geostrophic shear and extrapolation, should result in individual subsurface velocity estimates with uncertainty of the order of 0.2 cm s−1.

Item Type: Publication - Article
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Date made live: 24 Oct 2005 +0 (UTC)

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