Enhancements for NOAA’s operational upper Ocean Heat Content product suite

Deirdre Byrne, NOAA Center for Satellite Applications and Research, Laboratory for Satellite Altimetry, College Park, MD, United States, Eileen Maturi, NOAA/NESDIS, STAR, Camp Springs, MD, United States, Eric W Leuliette, NOAA College Park, College Park, MD, United States, Lynn K Shay, RSMAS/University of Miami, Department of Ocean Sciences, Miami, United States and Jessica Maureen Burns, University of South Carolina Columbia, Columbia, SC, United States
The NOAA National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service operational satellite-derived Ocean Heat Content product (in production since September 11, 2012) is used to improve NOAA’s predictions of tropical cyclone intensification. Ocean Heat Content, in this context, is the amount of energy stored in the ocean at sea temperatures of 26°C and above, and depends on both ocean stratification and absolute temperatures in the upper ocean. The existing operational algorithm is a geographically-based one that incorporates sea level anomaly, sea surface temperature, and ocean climatological information. We discuss the performance of an enhanced algorithm designed for future operational use that is parameterized primarily in terms of steric height relative to a deep reference level. This parameterization depends on the generally strong correlation between steric height and the sea surface height from altimetry. Due to its formulation, this new parameterization is expected to be able to capitalize on the increased resolution of upcoming wide swath altimeter missions. The large-scale correlation between in situ observations of steric height and existing near-real time sea level anomaly (SLA) products is also examined, including the US Navy’s operational Altimeter Products System (ALPS), the new optimally interpolated gridded SLA from the Radar Altimeter Database System (RADS), and the one distributed by the Copernicus Marine Environmental Monitoring Services (CMEMS). Preliminary results are shown for a testbed region in the North Atlantic Ocean.