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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Combining complementary observing systems to produce a basin-scale network for monitoring upper-ocean transport

The data associated with this publication are within the manuscript.

The high-resolution expendable bathythermograph (HR-XBT) network measures temperature down to approximately 800 m along fixed transects. In comparison, Argo floats are distributed throughout the global ocean and measure temperature and salinity down to approximately 2000 m. Over the 2004-2019 period, the HR-XBT network tended to have a greater sampling density near the coast, while Argo sampling density was generally equivalent to, or greater than, the HR-XBT network in the ocean interior. To take advantage of the benefits of each of these observing systems, a method for combining measurements from HR-XBT, Argo, and satellite altimetry observations was implemented. This method produced estimates of geostrophic velocity and transport in the upper 800 m normal to the HR-XBT transects in the Indian and Pacific Oceans over an approximately 16 year period at high spatial (0.1° along-transect spacing) and temporal (1 month) resolutions. The combined method better resolved the mean geostrophic velocity and transport in the western boundary currents and their recirculations compared to estimates from a 2004-2018 mean high-resolution climatology computed using only Argo data. An additional benefit of the combined method is that it provides a monthly time series of velocity and transport for each HR-XBT transect. This monthly time series captures the temporal variability and will allow for examination of possible drivers of ocean transport.

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