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Free Content A variational method for inverting hydrographic data

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We present a new method for estimating the three-dimensional field of geostrophic velocity from hydrographic station data. Very simply, we ask for the smoothest velocity field (in the sense of an arbitrarily defined norm) which is consistent with the data and with selected approximate dynamical constraints to within prescribed misfits, which, we will argue, should never be zero. The misfits represent errors in the data and in the approximate dynamical constraints. By varying the misfits relatively to one another, we explore the full envelope of physically plausible estimates of the average geostrophic flow. We illustrate the method by application to hydrographic measurements in the Labrador Sea.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1357/002224086788460175

Publication date: February 1, 1986

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  • The Journal of Marine Research publishes peer-reviewed research articles covering a broad array of topics in physical, biological and chemical oceanography. Articles that deal with processes, as well as those that report significant observations, are welcome. In the area of biology, studies involving coupling between ecological and physical processes are preferred over those that report systematics. Authors benefit from thorough reviews of their manuscripts, where an attempt is made to maximize clarity. The time between submission and publication is kept to a minimum; there is no page charge.
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