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The dependence of medium range northern Atlantic Ocean predictability on atmospheric forecasts

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The Mercator-Océan system provides a weekly analysis and a 14-day forecast of the ocean using a 1/3° North Atlantic model assimilating satellite altimetry and in situ temperature and salinity profiles. The model system makes use of the European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (ECMWF) 10-day operational forecast for atmospheric forcing. The ECMWF monthly ensemble atmospheric forecast allows an extension to one month ocean forecasts. This paper examines the impact of forcing with these two different atmospheric models on ocean forecast skill. Results show an equivalence of the 7-day ocean forecast with the two different atmospheric data sets and an improvement of the 14-day ocean forecast using the ECMWF ensemble mean output. 28-day ocean forecasts using the ECMWF ensemble output are always better than persistence with significant correlation; especially between forecast sea surface temperature (SST) and best estimate SST.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 2009

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