The core Argo array has operated with the design goal of uniform spatial distribution of 3° in latitude and longitude. Recent studies have acknowledged that spatial and temporal scales of variability in some parts of the ocean are not resolved by 3° sampling and have recommended increased core Argo density in the equatorial region, boundary currents, and marginal seas with an integrated vision of other Argo variants. Biogeochemical (BGC) Argo floats currently observe the ocean from a collection of pilot arrays, but recently funded proposals will transition these pilot arrays to a global array. The current BGC Argo implementation plan recommends uniform spatial distribution of BGC Argo floats. For the first time, we estimate the effectiveness of the existing BGC Argo array to resolve the anomaly from the mean using a subset of modeled, full-depth BGC fields. We also study the effectiveness of uniformly distributed BGC Argo arrays with varying float densities at observing the ocean. Then, using previous Argo trajectories, we estimate the Argo array’s future distribution and quantify how well it observes the ocean. Finally, using a novel technique for sequentially identifying the best deployment locations, we suggest the optimal array distribution for BGC Argo floats to minimize objective mapping uncertainty in a subset of BGC fields and to best constrain BGC temporal variability.
The Argo array provides nearly 4000 temperature and salinity profiles of the top 2000 m of the ocean every 10 days. Still, Argo floats will never be able to measure the ocean at all times, everywhere. Optimized Argo float distributions should match the spatial and temporal variability of the many societally important ocean features that they observe. Determining these distributions is challenging because float advection is difficult to predict. Using no external models, transition matrices based on existing Argo trajectories provide statistical inferences about Argo float motion. We use the 24 years of Argo locations to construct an optimal transition matrix that minimizes estimation bias and uncertainty. The optimal array is determined to have a 2° × 2° spatial resolution with a 90-day time step. We then use the transition matrix to predict the probability of future float locations of the core Argo array, the Global Biogeochemical Array, and the Southern Ocean Carbon and Climate Observations and Modeling (SOCCOM) array. A comparison of transition matrices derived from floats using Argos system and Iridium communication methods shows the impact of surface displacements, which is most apparent near the equator. Additionally, we demonstrate the utility of transition matrices for validating models by comparing the matrix derived from Argo floats with that derived from a particle release experiment in the Southern Ocean State Estimate (SOSE).more » « less
- Award ID(s):
- NSF-PAR ID:
- Publisher / Repository:
- American Meteorological Society
- Date Published:
- Journal Name:
- Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology
- Medium: X Size: p. 1083-1103
- ["p. 1083-1103"]
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
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