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Journal Article

Convergence of daily GRACE solutions and models of sub‐monthly ocean bottom pressure variability


Schindelegger,  Michael
External Organizations;

Harker,  Alexander A.
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Ponte,  Rui M.
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Dobslaw,  H.
1.3 Earth System Modelling, 1.0 Geodesy, Departments, GFZ Publication Database, Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum;

Salstein,  David A.
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Schindelegger, M., Harker, A. A., Ponte, R. M., Dobslaw, H., Salstein, D. A. (2021): Convergence of daily GRACE solutions and models of sub‐monthly ocean bottom pressure variability. - Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 126, 2, e2020JC017031.

Cite as: https://gfzpublic.gfz-potsdam.de/pubman/item/item_5005753
Knowledge of sub‐monthly variability in ocean bottom pressure (pb) is an essential element in space‐geodetic analyses and global gravity field research. Estimates of these mass changes are typically drawn from numerical ocean models and, more recently, GRACE (Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment) series at daily sampling. However, the quality of pb fields from either source has been difficult to assess and reservations persist as to the dependence of regularized GRACE solutions on their oceanographic priors. Here we make headway on the subject by comparing two daily satellite gravimetry products (years 2007–2009) both with each other and with pb output from a diverse mix of ocean models, complemented by insights from bottom pressure gauges. Emphasis is given to large spatial scales and periods < 60 days. Satellite‐based mass changes are in good agreement over basin interiors and point to excess pb signals ( ∼2 cm root‐mean‐square error) over Southern Ocean abyssal plains in the present GRACE de‐aliasing model. These and other imperfections in baroclinic models are especially apparent at periods < 10 days, although none of the GRACE series presents a realistic ground truth on time scales of a few days. A barotropic model simulation with parameterized topographic wave drag is most commensurate with the GRACE fields over the entire sub‐monthly band, allowing for first‐order inferences about error and noise in the gravimetric mass changes. Estimated pb errors vary with signal magnitude and location but are generally low enough (0.5–1.5 cm) to judge model skill in dynamically active regions.