Design and validation of MEDRYS, a Mediterranean Sea reanalysis over the period 1992–2013
Abstract. The French research community in the Mediterranean Sea modeling and the French operational ocean forecasting center Mercator Océan have gathered their skill and expertise in physical oceanography, ocean modeling, atmospheric forcings and data assimilation to carry out a MEDiterranean sea ReanalYsiS (MEDRYS) at high resolution for the period 1992–2013. The ocean model used is NEMOMED12, a Mediterranean configuration of NEMO with a 1∕12° ( ∼ 7 km) horizontal resolution and 75 vertical z levels with partial steps. At the surface, it is forced by a new atmospheric-forcing data set (ALDERA), coming from a dynamical downscaling of the ERA-Interim atmospheric reanalysis by the regional climate model ALADIN-Climate with a 12 km horizontal and 3 h temporal resolutions. This configuration is used to carry a 34-year hindcast simulation over the period 1979–2013 (NM12-FREE), which is the initial state of the reanalysis in October 1992. MEDRYS uses the existing Mercator Océan data assimilation system SAM2 that is based on a reduced-order Kalman filter with a three-dimensional (3-D) multivariate modal decomposition of the forecast error. Altimeter data, satellite sea surface temperature (SST) and temperature and salinity vertical profiles are jointly assimilated. This paper describes the configuration we used to perform MEDRYS. We then validate the skills of the data assimilation system. It is shown that the data assimilation restores a good average temperature and salinity at intermediate layers compared to the hindcast. No particular biases are identified in the bottom layers. However, the reanalysis shows slight positive biases of 0.02 psu and 0.15 °C above 150 m depth. In the validation stage, it is also shown that the assimilation allows one to better reproduce water, heat and salt transports through the Strait of Gibraltar. Finally, the ability of the reanalysis to represent the sea surface high-frequency variability is shown.