A real-time dynamical forecast of ocean synoptic/mesoscale eddies


Energetic eddy currents are the oceanic analogue of atmospheric weather and have time scales of days to weeks and space scales of tens to hundreds of kilometres1. We have predicted their evolution in time by internal dynamical processes. For the forecasts we transferred initialization data from ship- to shore-based computers, during two 2-week periods in June and July of 1983 from an approximately (150 km)2 region in the deep north-east Pacific off California. This is, to the best of our knowledge, the first such real-time forecast at sea. The results were substantially successful; the dynamics predicted a prominent zonal jet absent in the initial flow. Also, the model forecast revealed a strong eddy merger event otherwise obscured in the data. Prospects are encouraging for future forecasting, which should have important implications for research and practical operations at sea2.

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Robinson, A., Carton, J., Mooers, C. et al. A real-time dynamical forecast of ocean synoptic/mesoscale eddies. Nature 309, 781–783 (1984). https://doi.org/10.1038/309781a0

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