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  • A quick check of the Satellite Altimetry

    Posted on June 5th, 2020 Scott Glenn No comments

    Here is my new favorite place to look for satellite altimeter products in the Gulf of Mexico, the NOAA AOML site:

    I have been a long term user of the CCAR altimeter products for the Gulf, but I am not seeing it.  Maybe our GCOOS friends have a recommendation for their go-to site for satellite altimetry.  Was very happy to find this CoastWatch site from our friends at AOML.  It has exactly the confirmation information we are seeking on the pre-storm ocean conditions.

    In a previous blog post, we plotted the Sea Surface Height (SSH), and the surface currents, from the GOFS 3.1 model, noting that the Essential Ocean Features impacting hurricane intensity are well defined by SSH.  Below is the CoastWatch altimeter product that plots the SSH  (orange is high elevation, blue is low elevation) and the resulting geostrophic currents.  The Loop Current flowing into and out of the Gulf is on the lower right. Nearly centered at 25N, 90W, is the large, warm core, Loop Current Eddy that Cristobal is forecast to track across tomorrow.  Farther north and to the right of the forecast hurricane track is the Warm Eddy located just off the Florida panhandle continental shelf. In between the two warm, Anticyclonic eddies with the high elevations is the smaller area of low elevation associated with the cyclonic cold feature just south of the birdfoot.  We clearly see the impact of the satellite altimeter in the data assimilative GOFS model.



    It looks like we are being given a well designed laboratory experiment with a tropical storm tracking directly over the center of a warm Anticyclonic ring.  Except that this one is real.

    A next step will be to look for any of the operational regional HWRF runs that use the feature model initialization approach, and compare to the operational data-assimilative global GOFS model.

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