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A Study of Ocean Mass and Transport with Remote Sensing

  • Author(s): HSU, CHIA-WEI
  • Advisor(s): Velicogna, Isabella
  • et al.
Creative Commons 'BY-NC-ND' version 4.0 license

We use GRACE data and estimates of ice sheet mass balance by the mass budget method to study regional ocean mass changes. Regional ocean mass varies because of ocean dynamics and gravitational attraction resulted from mass redistribution within the Earth system and associated crustal deformation. The effects combining gravitational attraction and crustal deformation are commonly called the sea level fingerprint (SLF). We focus on the SLF due to its large cumulative sea level potential and importance for accurate ocean mass estimates over regional scales. We conduct SLF sensitivity test with the mass estimate over the ice sheet regions from the mass budget method. Our tests show that the required accuracy of mass load estimates on land can be achieved by using GRACE data. We determine a set of improved scaling factors to restore the magnitude of the GRACE signal attenuated from a series of processing steps applied to remove systematic noise. We derive the SLF signals by accounting the mass load changes in the whole Earth system from GRACE. The SLF is validated with in-situ ocean bottom pressure measurements and sea level derived from steric-corrected altimetry. The validations show good agreement in the seasonal signal at the 1-degree resolution. We investigate the ocean transport error due to SLF signal in the North Atlantic. A spurious meridional geostrophic transport is created due to the SLF gradient across the Atlantic ocean. This spurious transport is equivalent to half of the seasonal variation in the upper mid-ocean geostrophic transport shown in the in-situ transport measurements. The work shows the importance of removing SLF in OBP measurements used to derive geostrophic flow. GRACE provides valuable constraints for extracting the ocean bottom pressure estimates. We introduced an improved ocean bottom pressure product from GRACE which can be used to study mass and current changes near coastal regions. This required removing the land mass change signal, which leaks into the ocean and can obscure the ocean bottom pressure signal. The product provides the possibility of studying coastal processes by using the near-coast GRACE ocean bottom pressure estimates.

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