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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.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 1986

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  • The Journal of Marine Research, one of the oldest journals in American marine science, 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. Biological studies involving coupling between ecological and physical processes are preferred over those that report systematics. The editors strive always to serve authors and readers in the academic oceanographic community by publishing papers vital to the marine research in the long and rich tradition of the Sears Foundation for Marine Research. We welcome you to the Journal of Marine Research.
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