The question is addressed whether using unbalanced updates in ocean-data assimilation schemes for seasonal forecasting systems can result in a relatively poor simulation of zonal currents. An assimilation scheme, where temperature observations are used for updating only the density field, is compared to a scheme where updates of density field and zonal velocities are related by geostrophic balance. This is done for an equatorial linear shallow-water model. It is found that equatorial zonal velocities can be detoriated if velocity is not updated in the assimilation procedure. Adding balanced updates to the zonal velocity is shown to be a simple remedy for the shallow-water model. Next, optimal interpolation (OI) schemes with balanced updates of the zonal velocity are implemented in two ocean general circulation models. First tests indicate a beneficial impact on equatorial upper-ocean zonal currents.
G Burgers, MA Balmaseda, FC Vossepoel, GJ van Oldenborgh, PJ van Leeuwen. Balanced ocean-data assimilation near the equator
published, J. Phys. Oceanogr., 2002, 32