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See detailSurface circulation of the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico using 13 years of satellite altimetry data
Alvera Azcarate, Aïda ULg; Barth, Alexander ULg; Weisberg, R. H.

Conference (2009)

The surface circulation of the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico is studied using thirteen years of satellite altimetry data. In the Caribbean Sea, processes at several temporal scales are analyzed: the ... [more ▼]

The surface circulation of the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico is studied using thirteen years of satellite altimetry data. In the Caribbean Sea, processes at several temporal scales are analyzed: the Caribbean eddies and meanders characteristics, the annual cycle and its variability through time, and the interannual variability, with a cycle of about 4 years affecting the SSH slope across the current and hence the ntensity of the Caribbean Current. Our analyses suggest that this cycle is related to changes in the wind intensity, wind curl and El Niño Southern Oscillation. In the Gulf of Mexico, the variability of the Loop Current is studied. We analyze the timing of anticyclonic eddy detachment from the Loop Current, the relation between the size of these eddies and the period between detachments, and the intrusion of the Loop Current into the Gulf of Mexico. A series of extreme Loop Current intrusions into the Gulf of Mexico, when the current is observed as far as 92°W, are described. The frequency of such events appears to have increased in recent years, with only one event happening from 1992 to 2002 (in 1993) versus three from 2002 to 2006. [less ▲]

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See detailA coordinated coastal ocean observing and modeling system for the West Florida Continental Shelf
Weisberg, R. H.; Barth, Alexander ULg; Alvera Azcarate, Aïda ULg et al

in Harmful Algae (2009), 8(4), 585-597

The evolution of harmful algal blooms, while dependent upon complex biological interactions, is equally dependent upon the ocean circulation since the circulation provides the basis for the biological ... [more ▼]

The evolution of harmful algal blooms, while dependent upon complex biological interactions, is equally dependent upon the ocean circulation since the circulation provides the basis for the biological interactions by uniting nutrients with light and distributing water properties. For the coastal ocean, the circulation and the resultant water properties, in turn, depend on interactions between both the continental shelf and the deep-ocean and the continental shelf and the estuaries since the deep-ocean and the estuaries are primary nutrient sources. Here we consider a coordinated program of observations and models for the West Florida Continental Shelf (WFS) intended to provide a supportive framework for K. brevis red-tide prediction as well as for other coastal ocean matters of societal concern. Predicated on lessons learned, the goal is to achieve a system complete enough to support data assimilative modeling and prediction. Examples of the observations and models are presented and application is made to aspects of the 2005 red-tide. From an observational perspective, no single set of measurements is adequate. Required are a broad mix of sensors and sensor delivery systems capable of describing the three-dimensional structure of the velocity and density fields. Similarly, models must be complete enough to include the relevant physical processes, and data assimilation provides the integrative framework for maximizing the joint utility of the observations and models. While we are still in the exploratory stages of development, the lessons learned and application examples may be useful to similar programs under development elsewhere. One scientific finding is that the key to understanding K. brevis red-tide on the WFS lies not at the surface, but at depth [less ▲]

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See detailDynamically constrained ensemble perturbations - application to tides on the West Florida Shelf
Barth, Alexander ULg; Alvera Azcarate, Aïda ULg; Beckers, Jean-Marie ULg et al

in Ocean Science (2009), 5(3), 259-270

A method is presented to create an ensemble of perturbations that satisfies linear dynamical constraints. A cost function is formulated defining the probability of each perturbation. It is shown that the ... [more ▼]

A method is presented to create an ensemble of perturbations that satisfies linear dynamical constraints. A cost function is formulated defining the probability of each perturbation. It is shown that the perturbations created with this approach take the land-sea mask into account in a similar way as variational analysis techniques. The impact of the land-sea mask is illustrated with an idealized configuration of a barrier island. Perturbations with a spatially variable correlation length can be also created by this approach. The method is applied to a realistic configuration of the West Florida Shelf to create perturbations of the M2 tidal parameters for elevation and depth-averaged currents. The perturbations are weakly constrained to satisfy the linear shallow-water equations. Despite that the constraint is derived from an idealized assumption, it is shown that this approach is applicable to a non-linear and baroclinic model. The amplitude of spurious transient motions created by constrained perturbations of initial and boundary conditions is significantly lower compared to perturbing the variables independently or to using only the momentum equation to compute the velocity perturbations from the elevation. [less ▲]

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See detailDynamically constrained ensemble perturbations. Application to tides on the West Florida Shelf
Barth, Alexander ULg; Alvera Azcarate, Aïda ULg; Beckers, Jean-Marie ULg et al

Conference (2009)

A method is presented to create an ensemble of perturbations that satisfies linear dynamical constraints. A cost function is formulated defining the probability of each perturbation. It is shown that the ... [more ▼]

A method is presented to create an ensemble of perturbations that satisfies linear dynamical constraints. A cost function is formulated defining the probability of each perturbation. It is shown that the perturbations created with this approach take the land-sea mask into account in a similar way as variational analysis techniques. The impact of the land-sea mask is illustrated with an idealized configuration of a barrier island. Perturbations with a spatially variable correlation length can be also created by this approach. The method is applied to a realistic configuration of the West Florida Shelf to create perturbations of the M2 tidal parameters for elevation and depth-averaged currents. The perturbations are weakly constrained to satisfy the linear shallow-water equations. Despite that the constraint is derived from an idealized assumption, it is shown that this approach is applicable to a non-linear and baroclinic model. The amplitude of spurious transient motions created by constrained perturbations of initial and boundary conditions is significantly lower compared to perturbing the variables independently or to using only the momentum equation to compute the velocity perturbations from the elevation [less ▲]

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See detailA West Florida Shelf ROMS model nested in HYCOM: validation, application and data assimilation
Barth, Alexander ULg; Alvera Azcarate, Aïda ULg; Zheng, L. et al

Conference (2008, November)

A high-resolution regional model for the West Florida Shelf based on ROMS is nested into the GODAE Atlantic and Global HYCOM models. The benefit of using HYCOM boundary conditions instead of climatology ... [more ▼]

A high-resolution regional model for the West Florida Shelf based on ROMS is nested into the GODAE Atlantic and Global HYCOM models. The benefit of using HYCOM boundary conditions instead of climatology is established by comparing the nested model to altimetry, in situ temperature time series, andADCP and high-frequency (HF) radar currents. Jointly with the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, the model is applied to assist in harmful algae bloom forecasts. The model currents are used to estimate the trajectories of water parcels where red tide organisms have been detected. This system has been able to simulate the onset of the 2005 red tide event. HF Radar Currents are assimilated to improve the shelf circulation. An ensemble simulation of the WFS ROMS model is carried out under different wind forcings in order to estimate the error covariance of the model state vector and the covariance between ocean currents and winds. Radial currents measured by HF Radar antennas near St. Petersburg and Venice, FL, are assimilated using this ensemble-based error covariance. Different assimilation techniques using a time-average ensemble, a filter to reduce surface gravity waves and an extended state vector including wind stress were tested. Results of WFS ROMS model assimilating surface currents show an improvement of the model currents not only at the surface but also at depth. This model is run daily, to provide forecasts for the next 3.5 days. The model predictions and validations are available at http://ocgweb.marine.usf.edu under "WFS Model Forecasts". [less ▲]

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See detailAssimilation of high-frequency radar currents in a nested model of the West Florida Shelf
Barth, Alexander ULg; Alvera Azcarate, Aïda ULg; Weisberg, R. H.

in Journal of Geophysical Research. Oceans (2008), 113(C8),

High-frequency radar currents are assimilated in a West Florida Shelf (WFS) model based on the Regional Ocean Model System (ROMS), which is nested in the Atlantic Hybrid Coordinate Ocean Model (HYCOM) for ... [more ▼]

High-frequency radar currents are assimilated in a West Florida Shelf (WFS) model based on the Regional Ocean Model System (ROMS), which is nested in the Atlantic Hybrid Coordinate Ocean Model (HYCOM) for the purpose of including both local and deep-ocean forcing, particularly the Gulf of Mexico Loop Current. Tides are not included in this model. An ensemble simulation of the WFS model is carried out under different wind-forcings in order to estimate the error covariance of the model state vector and the covariance between ocean currents and winds. Radial currents measured by high-frequency radar antennas near Saint Petersburg and Venice, Florida, USA, are assimilated using this ensemble-based error covariance. Different assimilation techniques using a time-average ensemble, a filter to reduce surface-gravity waves and an extended state vector including wind stress were tested. Results of the WFS model assimilating surface currents show an improvement of the model currents not only at the surface but also at depth. [less ▲]

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See detailA nested model study of the Loop Current generated variability and its impact on the West Florida Shelf
Barth, Alexander ULg; Alvera Azcarate, Aïda ULg; Weisberg, R. H.

in Journal of Geophysical Research. Oceans (2008), 113(C5),

A West Florida Shelf model based on the Regional Ocean Modeling System (ROMS) is nested in the North Atlantic Hybrid Coordinate Ocean Model (NAT HYCOM). The focus of this work is the study of the impact ... [more ▼]

A West Florida Shelf model based on the Regional Ocean Modeling System (ROMS) is nested in the North Atlantic Hybrid Coordinate Ocean Model (NAT HYCOM). The focus of this work is the study of the impact of the Loop Current on the West Florida Shelf. In order to assess the model's accuracy, it is compared quantitatively to in situ temperature and velocity measurements on the shelf. A series of sensitivity experiments are conducted to determine the appropriate wind forcing, sea surface temperature relaxation, and mixing scheme. By the inclusion of the Loop Current, we are able to study the propagation of an anticyclonic vortex detaching from the Loop Current. We found that the ambient gradient of potential vorticity is able to explain the vortex path and speed. The statistics of such Loop Current generated flow features were examined by including a tracer marking Loop Current water. This allows to track the Loop Current water on the West Florida Shelf and to quantify the amount of Loop Current water reaching the shelf. [less ▲]

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See detailA Nested Model of the West Florida Shelf: Assimilation of High-Frequency Radar Currents and study of Loop Current generated flow
Barth, Alexander ULg; Alvera Azcarate, Aïda ULg; Zheng, L. et al

Conference (2008)

High-Frequency Radar Currents are assimilated in a West Florida Shelf (WFS) model based on the Regional Ocean Model System (ROMS) which is nested in the Atlantic Hybrid Coordinate Ocean Model (HYCOM) to ... [more ▼]

High-Frequency Radar Currents are assimilated in a West Florida Shelf (WFS) model based on the Regional Ocean Model System (ROMS) which is nested in the Atlantic Hybrid Coordinate Ocean Model (HYCOM) to include both local and deep-ocean forcing, particularly the Gulf of Mexico Loop Current (LC). An ensemble simulation of the WFS ROMS model is carried out under different wind forcings in order to estimate the error covariance of the model state vector and the covariance between ocean currents and winds. Radial currents measured by HF-Radar antennas near St. Petersburg and Venice, FL, are assimilated using this ensemble-based error covariance. Different assimilation techniques using a time-average ensemble, a filter to reduce surface-gravity waves and an extended state vector including wind stress were tested. Results of WFS ROMS model assimilating surface currents show an improvement of the model currents not only at the surface but also at depth. The LC is a highly unstable current which generates large anticyclones traveling to the West but also a series of smaller anticyclones and filaments moving to the East and affecting the West Florida shelf. An additional tracer is included in the model simulation to track the presence of LC water. With this tracer, the total amount of LC water reaching the shelf and its mechanism is studied. [less ▲]

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See detailDownscaling of the global HYCOM to the Cariaco basin (Venezuela) using ROMS
Alvera Azcarate, Aïda ULg; Barth, Alexander ULg; Weisberg, R. H.

Conference (2008)

A high-resolution (1/60 degree), three-dimensional numerical circulation model of the Cariaco basin (Venezuela) is constructed by nesting the Regional Ocean Modeling System (ROMS) in the 1/12 degree ... [more ▼]

A high-resolution (1/60 degree), three-dimensional numerical circulation model of the Cariaco basin (Venezuela) is constructed by nesting the Regional Ocean Modeling System (ROMS) in the 1/12 degree global Hybrid Coordinate Ocean Model (HYCOM). The Cariaco basin is a semi-enclosed trench located along the coast of Venezuela. Its maximum depth is about 1400 m, and it is connected to the open ocean by two shallow passages: the Centinela channel in the northwest (146 m depth) and the Tortuga channel in the northeast (135 m depth). The main objective of this work is to improve our knowledge of the Cariaco basin dynamics, and to understand how the basin is influenced by the Caribbean Sea. The nesting of the Cariaco model in HYCOM is therefore crucial for these analyses. First, the annual cycle of the basin is described, using the results from a 2004 hindcast. Then, two modes of interaction between the basin and the open ocean are studied: (i) the meanders and eddies that travel westward with the Caribbean Current, and (ii) a subsurface eastward current that flows along the South America north coast. The ventilation of the basin through its channels is analyzed by studying the annual variations of the thermocline depth in the basin channels. In addition to the improved knowledge of the Cariaco basin circulation, which can help to better understand the climate of the past through paleoceanographic studies, this work is also an example of the feasibility of one of the objectives of GODAE: downscaling from a large-scale model to a regional model. In particular, the nesting ratio of 5 used in this work (from 9 km down to 1.82 km) demonstrates that a high-resolution model can be successfully nested in HYCOM. [less ▲]

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See detailA West Florida Shelf ROMS Nested into HYCOM: Ensemble-based Assimilation of HF-Radar Surface Currents and a 2005 Red Tide Case Study with Simulated Drifters
Barth, Alexander ULg; Alvera Azcarate, Aïda ULg; Weisberg, R. H.

Conference (2007)

A West Florida Shelf (WFS) model is constructed by nesting the Regional Ocean Model System (ROMS) in the Atlantic Hybrid Coordinate Ocean Model (HYCOM) to include both local and deep-ocean forcing ... [more ▼]

A West Florida Shelf (WFS) model is constructed by nesting the Regional Ocean Model System (ROMS) in the Atlantic Hybrid Coordinate Ocean Model (HYCOM) to include both local and deep-ocean forcing, particularly the Gulf of Mexico Loop Current (LC). Hindcast experiments from 2004 to 2006 are presented and compared to observed temperature (moorings and BSOP profiling floats), ADCP velocity time series and HF-Radar surface currents. Two different mixing schemes (Mellor Yamada level 2.5 and K-Profile Parameterization, KPP) are tested and the importance of the vertical resolution for mixing is addressed. The model results of those different configurations are compared to temperature observations on the shelf. Results obtained with the Mellor Yamada scheme are closer to observations during winter (negative buoyancy flux and strong winds) while in summer (positive buoyancy flux and in general weaker wind) the KPP scheme produces more realistic results. Given the present HYCOM configuration we assessed the benefit of nesting ROMS in HYCOM compared to nesting ROMS in climatology. The model solutions on the shelf were compared to various in situ data. The model performed best when using the HYCOM boundary values. Simulated trajectories for drifters deployed off Tampa Bay and Sarasota were used to address the evolution of Karenia brevis concentrations during the 2005 red tide. Near surface drifters were advected offshore, whereas drifters deployed in the bottom Ekman layer matched the subsequently observed Karenia brevis distributions, showing the importance of the 3D structure of coastal ocean currents for red tide on the WFS. As a first attempt at assimilating CODAR surface currents we used an ensemble simulation carried out under different wind forcings to estimate the error covariance of the model state vector and the covariance between the ocean currents and the wind. Improvements were obtained for the modeled currents, not only at the surface, but also at depth. [less ▲]

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See detailA Nested Model of the Cariaco Basin: Study of the Hydrography and Interactions with the Open Ocean
Alvera Azcarate, Aïda ULg; Barth, Alexander ULg; Virmani, J. I. et al

Conference (2007)

The circulation of the Cariaco Basin (Venezuela) is modeled using the Regional Ocean Model System (ROMS) nested in the global 1/12 degree Hybrid Coordinate Ocean Model (HYCOM). The objective of this work ... [more ▼]

The circulation of the Cariaco Basin (Venezuela) is modeled using the Regional Ocean Model System (ROMS) nested in the global 1/12 degree Hybrid Coordinate Ocean Model (HYCOM). The objective of this work is to obtain a better understanding of the Cariaco Basin circulation by studying the processes that link the basin with the Caribbean Sea. To our knowledge, this is the first attempt to model the circulation in the Cariaco Basin with a nested high resolution hydrodynamical model. In particular, we examined the interaction of the Cariaco Basin with the large-scale, open-ocean processes, as the westward Caribbean Current and the eastward subsurface counter-current flowing along the South America Caribbean coast. These two current systems connect the Cariaco Basin with the Caribbean Sea waters, and therefore are directly related to the ventilation of the basin. By studying the kinematics and dynamics of the Cariaco Basin we anticipate gaining a better understanding on how the past conditions affected the basin characteristics and hence the geological records obtained from the basin sediments. We will report on several years of observations from the continuous monitoring of currents within the basin, plus analyses of year-long model runs that provide a basin-wide, three-dimensional context for the circulation. [less ▲]

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See detailIAS Mesoscale Surface Circulation Observed Through Satellite Altimetry and its Influence in a Small Scale, Coastal Domain, Studied with a ROMS Model of the Cariaco Basin
Alvera Azcarate, Aïda ULg; Barth, Alexander ULg; Virmani, J. I. et al

Conference (2007)

The Intra-Americas Sea (IAS) surface circulation is characterized by large scale currents. The Caribbean current, which originates in the Lesser Antilles, travels westwards through the Caribbean Sea and ... [more ▼]

The Intra-Americas Sea (IAS) surface circulation is characterized by large scale currents. The Caribbean current, which originates in the Lesser Antilles, travels westwards through the Caribbean Sea and eastern Mexico and passes through the Gulf of Mexico to finally form the Gulf Stream. This complex system of currents is also characterized by a high mesoscale variability, such as eddies and meanders. The objectives of this work are twofold: first, the multi-scale surface circulation of the IAS is described using satellite altimetry. The topographic influence of the different basins forming the IAS, the characteristic time and spatial scales, and the time variability of the surface circulation will be addressed. The second objective is to analyze the influence of this large scale circulation on a small scale coastal domain with a ROMS-based model of the Cariaco basin (Venezuela). Cariaco is a deep (1400 m), semi-enclosed basin connected to the open ocean by two shallow channels (Tortuga and Centinela Channels). Its connection with the open sea, and therefore the ventilation of the basin, occurs in the surface layers. The Cariaco ROMS model will be used to study the exchanges of mass, heat and salt through the channels. A 1/60 degree ROMS model nested in the global 1/12 degree HYCOM model from the Naval Research Laboratory will be used for this study. In addition, a series of observations (satellite altimetry and in situ temperature, salinity and velocity data), will be used to assess the influence of the Caribbean circulation on the basin. [less ▲]

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See detailAssimilation of High-Frequency Radar Currents in a Nested Model of the West Florida Shelf
Barth, Alexander ULg; Alvera Azcarate, Aïda ULg; Weisberg, R. H.

Conference (2007)

High-frequency radar currents are assimilated in a West Florida Shelf (WFS) model based on the Regional Ocean Model System (ROMS), which is nested in the Atlantic Hybrid Coordinate Ocean Model (HYCOM) for ... [more ▼]

High-frequency radar currents are assimilated in a West Florida Shelf (WFS) model based on the Regional Ocean Model System (ROMS), which is nested in the Atlantic Hybrid Coordinate Ocean Model (HYCOM) for the purpose of including both local and deep-ocean forcing, particularly the Gulf of Mexico Loop Current. Tides are not included in this model. An ensemble simulation of the WFS model is carried out under different wind-forcings in order to estimate the error covariance of the model state vector and the covariance between ocean currents and winds. Radial currents measured by high-frequency radar antennas near Saint Petersburg and Venice, Florida, USA, are assimilated using this ensemble-based error covariance. Different assimilation techniques using a time-average ensemble, a filter to reduce surface-gravity waves and an extended state vector including wind stress were tested. Results of the WFS model assimilating surface currents show an improvement of the model currents not only at the surface but also at depth. [less ▲]

Detailed reference viewed: 14 (3 ULg)
See detailA baroclinic, regional West Florida Shelf model nested in a 1/12 degree North Atlantic HYCOM model, inclusive of tides
Barth, Alexander ULg; Alvera Azcarate, Aïda ULg; Weisberg, R. H.

Conference (2006)

A West Florida Shelf (WFS) model based on the Regional Ocean Model System (ROMS) is nested in the 1/12° North Atlantic Hybrid Coordinate Ocean Model (NAT HYCOM). The nesting procedure is based on a flow ... [more ▼]

A West Florida Shelf (WFS) model based on the Regional Ocean Model System (ROMS) is nested in the 1/12° North Atlantic Hybrid Coordinate Ocean Model (NAT HYCOM). The nesting procedure is based on a flow relaxation scheme, and the model implementation is tested against in situ data over a one-year hindcast simulation. While the focus of NAT HYCOM is the large-scale circulation, the aim of this study is to show that the NAT HYCOM results can be improved by nesting a regional model with increased resolution. Results are compared qualitatively to sea surface height and quantitatively to in situ temperature and velocity measurements on the shelf. The nesting of a regional model improves the performance on the shelf. The inclusion of tides is a new addition, and preliminary results are shown. [less ▲]

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See detailMapped fields of surface geostrophic currents based on altimetry, and fields of sea surface winds, cloud-free sea surface temperature and chlorophyll concentration using monovariate OI and a multivariate EOF technique
Alvera Azcarate, Aïda ULg; Barth, Alexander ULg; Helber, R. W. et al

Conference (2006)

There is an increasing demand for regional oceanic models capable of simulating the regional ocean circulation. Accurate surface forcing functions are necessary to achieve this goal. Here we present ... [more ▼]

There is an increasing demand for regional oceanic models capable of simulating the regional ocean circulation. Accurate surface forcing functions are necessary to achieve this goal. Here we present analyses of several data sets covering the contiguous eastern Gulf of Mexico and southeast Atlantic: a) Wind fields resulting from the blending by optimal interpolation (OI) of NCEP, in situ and QuikSCAT winds. These winds show improvements in the coastal region, where orography and coastal boundary layer effects are important and under-resolved. b) Cloud-free SST, created by merging several SST sources using OI. c) Cloud-free chlorophyll, also created using OI. d) Surface drifter trajectories, generated from geostrophic currents and used to track water masses, with application to the Mississippi River outflow subsequent to Hurricane Katrina. e) Multivariate cloud-free products, using SST and chlorophyll, and SST and QuikSCAT winds, to obtain more accurate reconstructions than the monovariate equivalents. We use an EOF-based method, called DINEOF, which has proven to give similar results to OI-based reconstruction but up to 30 times faster, making it very suitable for operational applications. These data sets, originally created for the West Florida Shelf, have been expanded for the Southeast Atlantic Coastal Ocean Observing System (SEACOOS) and for broader environmental applications. [less ▲]

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See detailDerivation of high-resolution ocean surface fields for regional and coastal models
Alvera Azcarate, Aïda ULg; Barth, Alexander ULg; He, R. et al

Conference (2005)

Coastal ocean circulation models need high-resolution input fields, such as winds, sea surface height and heat fluxes, to represent the variability of coastal systems. Atmosphere model outputs and ... [more ▼]

Coastal ocean circulation models need high-resolution input fields, such as winds, sea surface height and heat fluxes, to represent the variability of coastal systems. Atmosphere model outputs and satellite data are usually used. However, atmosphere models are usually too coarse and do not represent the high variability of coastal systems, and satellite data do not present a complete coverage, mainly due to cloudiness. In situ observations can accurately represent the complex temporal variability of coastal regions, but usually their spatial coverage is far from optimal. Several products derived from atmosphere models, satellite images and in situ observations are prepared to use as high-resolution input fields suitable for coastal models. An optimally interpolated (OI) wind field has been realized by merging atmosphere model winds, satellite-derived winds (from quikSCAT) and in situ buoy measurements. Other fields, such as geostrophic currents, are derived from Sea Surface Height anomaly obtained from the Topex/Poseidon, Jason, ERS 1/2 and Envisat altimeter product of the CLS center, plus a MICOM mean dynamic topography. Sea Surface Temperature (SST) is also needed to correct surface heat fluxes, but satellite SST is often gappy due to clouds. Two different approaches are investigated in order to obtain complete fields, one using OI and the other using Empirical Orthogonal Functions (EOF) for the reconstruction of missing data. The EOF-based method can reconstruct different variables together, such as SST and surface chlorophyll, by using the correlation between them. This multi-variate approach is used here, and compared to the mono-variate OI product. [less ▲]

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