Downscaling Satellite-Based Estimates of Ocean Bottom Pressure for Tracking Deep Ocean Mass Transport

Andrew Delman, Felix Landerer
2022 Remote Sensing  
Gravimetry measurements from the GRACE and GRACE-Follow-On satellites provide observations of ocean bottom pressure (OBP), which can be differenced between basin boundaries to infer mass transport variability at a given level in the deep ocean. However, GRACE data products are limited in spatial resolution, and conflate signals from many depth levels along steep continental slopes. To improve estimates of OBP variability near steep bathymetry, ocean bottom pressure observations from a JPL GRACE
more » ... mascon product are downscaled using an objective analysis procedure, with OBP covariance information from an ocean model with horizontal grid spacing of ∼18 km. In addition, a depth-based adjustment was applied to enhance correlations at similar depths. Downscaled GRACE OBP shows realistic representations of sharp OBP gradients across bathymetry contours and strong currents, albeit with biases in the shallow ocean. In validations at intraannual (3–12 month) timescales, correlations of downscaled GRACE data (with depth adjustment) and in situ bottom pressure recorder time series were improved in ∼79% of sites, compared to correlations that did not involve downscaled GRACE. Correlations tend to be higher at sites where the amplitude of the OBP signal is larger, while locations where surface eddy kinetic energy is high (e.g., Gulf Stream extension) are more likely to have no improvement from the downscaling procedure. The downscaling procedure also increases the amplitude (standard deviation) of OBP variability compared to the non-downscaled GRACE at most sites, resulting in standard deviations that are closer to in situ values. A comparison of hydrography-based transport from RAPID with estimates based on downscaled GRACE data suggests substantial improvement from the downscaling at intraannual timescales, though this improvement does not extend to longer interannual timescales. Possible efforts to improve the downscaling technique through process studies and analysis of alongtrack GRACE/GRACE-FO observations are discussed.
doi:10.3390/rs14071764 fatcat:qlg6ff6panbkfjfz4mfxdzbzze