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Free Content Generalized inverse with shipboard current measurements: Tidal and nontidal flows in Long Island Sound

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A simple linear shallow-water model forced by tidal boundary conditions can capture most of the tide height variability in Long Island Sound. In this sense, the tides are easy to model. The modeled tidal currents can be subtracted from measurements in order to obtain estimates of subtidal circulation. But linear shallow-water dynamics is not accurate enough for this purpose. Allowing for dynamical errors with a generalized inverse model leads to improved estimates of tidal and nontidal flow. The analysis provides expected errors for the prior (before inversion) and posterior (after inversion) tidal velocity field.

Estimates of the flow field in central Long Island Sound are obtained with current measurements from a ship-mounted Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP) survey. Inversion of data from a single ten-hour survey improves tidal predictions, as verified with independent data. Furthermore, the posterior penalty functional is shown to be an effective test statistic for the existence of nontidal flow. The inverse model reduces model-data misfit, using interior dynamics and open-boundary conditions as weak constraints. Model-data misfit can also be reduced by tuning the friction parameter in the prior tidal model. However, in contrast with inversion, tuning degrades predictability.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 1998

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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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