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JGR Oceans

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Submarine topography, Oceanography -- Mathematical models


A new model for theM2, S2, K1, and O1 tides in the Weddell Sea is developed by assimilating CryoSat-2 data into a barotropic tide model. A variational approach is used, which explicitly allows for errors in the water depth, that is, the bottom topography in open water and the water column thickness under floating ice shelves, so that an optimized estimate of the topography is obtained together with the tidal fields. In preparation for assimilation, the sensitivity of the tidal elevation to the interfacial drag at the sea floor and the ice-water interface (under the floating ice shelves) is investigated; this motivates the development of a new drag parameterization which is more accurate and physically plausible in comparison with the interfacial drag alone. The assimilation of CryoSat-2 data into the model results in tidal elevations with essentially the same accuracy as previous estimates, which is demonstrated by comparisons with independent in situ data and withheld CryoSat-2 data. The novelty of the present tidal estimates is that they are consistent with well-defined dynamics based on the Laplace Tidal Equations—augmented with the new parameterization of drag—and modifications of the prior estimate of underwater topography and water column thickness. Analysis of the sensitivity to the topography finds that, at this level of precision, the topography is not uniquely determined by the observed data.


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