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Comparison of the Observed Mixed Layer Depth in the Lee of the Hawaiian Island to the Modeled Mixed Layer Depth of the Regional Navy Coastal Ocean Model

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This study evaluates the ability of the Hawaii Regional Navy Coastal Ocean Model to accurately predict the depth of the surface mixed layer in the lee of the Hawaiian Islands. Accurately modeling the depth of the surface mixed layer in this complex wake island environment is important to naval operations because the area hosts numerous training exercises. The simulated data were compared to CTD data collected from sea gliders, and tests for correlation were conducted. For mixed layer depths that did show correlation, match-paired t tests were used to determine the significance of the correlations. It was determined that the Hawaii Regional Navy Coastal Ocean Model has difficulty accurately predicting the depth of the surface mixed layer. It was also determined that the model has difficulty with unusual oceanographic features such as mode water eddies. These features are too uncommon and short-lived to be depicted in the climatology data. The climatology data are a major component of the synthetic profiles that the model generates, and these profiles tend to smooth out the unusual subsurface isothermal layer.

List of Abbreviations

BT ‐ bathythermographs

CCE ‐ cold core eddy

COAMPS ‐ Coupled Ocean/Atmosphere Mesoscale Prediction System

CTD ‐ conductivity, temperature, and depth

GDEM ‐ Generalized Digital Environmental Model

IR ‐ infrared

MLD ‐ mixed layer depth

MODAS ‐ Modular Ocean Data Assimilation System

MOODS ‐ Master Oceanographic Observation Dataset

NCODA ‐ Navy Coupled Ocean Data Assimilation

NCOM1 ‐ Hawaii Regional Navy Coastal Ocean Model with in situ assimilation

NCOM2 ‐ Hawaii Regional Navy Coastal Ocean Model without in situ assimilation

PAVE ‐ Profile Analysis and Visualization Environment

SSHa ‐ sea surface height anomaly derived from altimetry

SST ‐ sea surface temperature

WCE ‐ warm core eddy

Keywords: modeling, Navy Coastal Ocean Model (NCOM), mixed layer depth

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2013

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  • The Marine Technology Society Journal is the flagship publication of the Marine Technology Society. It publishes the highest caliber, peer-reviewed papers on subjects of interest to the society: marine technology, ocean science, marine policy and education. The Journal is dedicated to publishing timely special issues on emerging ocean community concerns while also showcasing general interest and student-authored works.
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