Temporal and spatial scales of the Yellow Sea thermal variability
Haeger, Steven D.
Chu, Peter C.
Wells, Susan K.
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This paper presents an analysis on the space/time statistical thermal structure in the Yellow Sea from the Navy's Master Observation Oceanography Data Set during 1929-1991. This analysis is for the establishment of an Optimum Thermal Interpolation System of the Yellow Sea (a shallow sea), for the assimilation of observational data into the design of an optimum observational network. After quality control the data set consists of 35,658 profiles. Sea surface temperatures at 50% and 80% water depths are presented here as representing the thermal structure of surface, middepth, and near-bottom layers. In the Yellow Sea shelf the temporal and spatial signals fluctuate according to the Asian monsoon. Variation of surface forcing from winter to summer monsoon season causes the change of the thermal structure, including the decorrelation scales. Our computation shows that the seasonal variation of the surface horizontal decorrelation scale is around 90 km from 158 km in winter to 251 km in summer and the seasonal variation of the surface temporal decorrelation scale is around 2.4 days from 14.7 days in winter to 12.3 days in summer. The temporal decorrelation scale increases with depth in both summer (evident) and winter (slight). The near-bottom water (sigma = 0.8) has the longest temporal scale in summer, which could be directly related to the existence of the Yellow Sea Cold Water throughout the summer in the middle of the Yellow Sea. The temporal and spatial decorrelation scales obtained in this study are useful for running optimum interpolation models and for designing an optimum observational network. The minimum sampling density required to detect thermal variability in the Yellow Sea shelf would be 50-80 km and 4-6 day intervals per temperature measurement with the knowledge that the subsurface features will also be adequately sampled.
Journal of Geophysical Research, American Geophysical Union
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