On the accuracy of North Atlantic temperature and heat storage fields from Argo

Hadfield, R.E.; Wells, N.C.; Josey, S.A. ORCID:; Hirschi, J.. 2007 On the accuracy of North Atlantic temperature and heat storage fields from Argo. Journal of Geophysical Research, 112 (C1). C01009-[17pp].

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The accuracy with which the Argo profiling float dataset can estimate the upper ocean temperature and heat storage in the North Atlantic is investigated. A hydrographic section across 36°N is used to assess uncertainty in Argo-based estimates of the temperature field. The root-mean-square (RMS) difference in the Argo-based temperature field relative to the section measurements is about 0.6°C. The RMS difference is smaller, less than 0.4°C, in the eastern basin and larger, up to 2.0°C, toward the western boundary. In comparison, the difference of the section with respect to the World Ocean Atlas (WOA) is 0.8°C. For the upper 100 m, the improvement with Argo is more dramatic, the RMS difference being 0.56°C, compared to 1.13°C with WOA. The Ocean Circulation and Climate Advanced Model (OCCAM) is used to determine the Argo sampling error in mixed layer heat storage estimates. Using OCCAM subsampled to typical Argo sampling density, it is found that outside of the western boundary, the mixed layer monthly heat storage in the subtropical North Atlantic has a sampling error of 10–20 Wm-2 when averaged over a 10° Å~ 10° area. This error reduces to less than 10 Wm-2 when seasonal heat storage is considered. Errors of this magnitude suggest that the Argo dataset is of use for investigating variability in mixed layer heat storage on interannual timescales. However, the expected sampling error increases to more than 50 Wm-2 in the Gulf Stream region and north of 40°N, limiting the use of Argo in these areas.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 0148-0227
Additional Keywords: heat storage; Argo; mixed layer
Date made live: 12 Feb 2007 +0 (UTC)

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