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Combining Altimetric and All Other Data with a General Circulation Model

Carl Wunsch(1) and Patrick Heimbach(1)

(1) MIT, Room 54-1524, cambridge, 02139, United States


The TOPEX/POSEIDON mission was formulated in conjunction with the World Ocean Circulation Experiment (WOCE). Although altimetric data are by far the largest ocean data set that emerged from that experiment, it was recognized from the outset that the best estimate of the ocean circulation and its variability would be made by combining all the data with a good general circulation model. The US ECCO-GODAE consortium has now produced useful estimates of the three-dimensional time evolving ocean circulation at 1 degree lateral resolution, 23 layers in the vertical, over the time period 1992-2004. At the present time, the solution represents a least-squares misfit to about 410million separate observational constraints. A huge variety of fields can be analyzed in the results, but the focus will be on the overturning circulation and its changes over this time period. The residual model/data misfits raise difficult questions about remaining errors in the altimetric/geoid fields.


Workshop presentation

Full paper


                 Last modified: 07.10.03