Articles | Volume 10, issue 6
Research article
12 Dec 2014
Research article |  | 12 Dec 2014

Forecasting the mixed-layer depth in the Northeast Atlantic: an ensemble approach, with uncertainties based on data from operational ocean forecasting systems

Y. Drillet, J. M. Lellouche, B. Levier, M. Drévillon, O. Le Galloudec, G. Reffray, C. Regnier, E. Greiner, and M. Clavier

Abstract. Operational systems operated by Mercator Ocean provide daily ocean forecasts, and combining these forecasts we can produce ensemble forecast and uncertainty estimates. This study focuses on the mixed-layer depth in the Northeast Atlantic near the Porcupine Abyssal Plain for May 2013. This period is of interest for several reasons: (1) four Mercator Ocean operational systems provide daily forecasts at a horizontal resolution of 1/4, 1/12 and 1/36° with different physics; (2) glider deployment under the OSMOSIS project provides observation of the changes in mixed-layer depth; (3) the ocean stratifies in May, but mixing events induced by gale force wind are observed and forecast by the systems. Statistical scores and forecast error quantification for each system and for the combined products are presented. Skill scores indicate that forecasts are consistently better than persistence, and temporal correlations between forecast and observations are greater than 0.8 even for the 4-day forecast. The impact of atmospheric forecast error, and for the wind field in particular (miss or time delay of a wind burst forecast), is also quantified in terms of occurrence and intensity of mixing or stratification events.