Articles | Volume 7, issue 1
Ocean Sci., 7, 75–90, 2011

Special issue: ECOOP (European Coastal-shelf sea Operational Observing and...

Ocean Sci., 7, 75–90, 2011

Research article 28 Jan 2011

Research article | 28 Jan 2011

Assessment of the three dimensional temperature and salinity observational networks in the Baltic Sea and North Sea

W. Fu, J. L. Høyer, and J. She W. Fu et al.
  • Center for Ocean and Ice (COI), Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI), Denmark

Abstract. The spatial averaged correlations are presented in 1.5° × 1.5° bins for the North and Baltic Sea region. The averaged correlations are computed based on the proxy ocean data generated by the operational forecast model of Danish Meteorology Institute (DMI). It is shown that the spatial distribution of the averaged correlations could reflect the overall influence of the local atmospheric forcing, complex topography, coastlines, boundary and bottom effect, etc. Comparisons with the satellite SST data demonstrate that the proxy ocean data reproduce realistic results at the surface. Based on the spatial bin-averaged correlations, a general correlation model is assumed to approximate the spatial and temporal correlation structure. Parameters of the correlation model are obtained on the standard Levitus levels. It is found that the correlation model is not the typical Guaussian-type function. For instance, the exponents of the correlation model vary in the longitudinal direction from 0.75 at the surface to 1.33 at the depth of 250 m for temperature. For salinity, the temporal correlation can be approximated with an exponential function.

Two complementary quality-indicators, effective coverage rate and "explained" variance, are defined based on the correlation models obtained above. The two indicators are able to identify the "influence area" of the information content in a given observation network and the relative importance of observations at different locations. By these indicators, the 3-D temperature and salinity observational networks are assessed in the Baltic Sea and North Sea for the period 2004–2006. It is found that the surface level is more effectively covered than the deep waters with existing networks. In addition, the Belt Sea and the Baltic Proper also show good coverage for both temperature and salinity. However, more observations are required in the Norwegian Trench and Kattegat. In the vertical, the two indicators show smaller values from 50 m to 125 m in this region, indicating the need for more observations.