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Shi L.,Research and Development Branch | Alves O.,Research and Development Branch | Wedd R.,Research and Development Branch | Balmaseda M.A.,ECMWF | And 21 more authors.
Climate Dynamics | Year: 2015

Many institutions worldwide have developed ocean reanalyses systems (ORAs) utilizing a variety of ocean models and assimilation techniques. However, the quality of salinity reanalyses arising from the various ORAs has not yet been comprehensively assessed. In this study, we assess the upper ocean salinity content (depth-averaged over 0–700 m) from 14 ORAs and 3 objective ocean analysis systems (OOAs) as part of the Ocean Reanalyses Intercomparison Project. Our results show that the best agreement between estimates of salinity from different ORAs is obtained in the tropical Pacific, likely due to relatively abundant atmospheric and oceanic observations in this region. The largest disagreement in salinity reanalyses is in the Southern Ocean along the Antarctic circumpolar current as a consequence of the sparseness of both atmospheric and oceanic observations in this region. The West Pacific warm pool is the largest region where the signal to noise ratio of reanalysed salinity anomalies is >1. Therefore, the current salinity reanalyses in the tropical Pacific Ocean may be more reliable than those in the Southern Ocean and regions along the western boundary currents. Moreover, we found that the assimilation of salinity in ocean regions with relatively strong ocean fronts is still a common problem as seen in most ORAs. The impact of the Argo data on the salinity reanalyses is visible, especially within the upper 500 m, where the interannual variability is large. The increasing trend in global-averaged salinity anomalies can only be found within the top 0–300 m layer, but with quite large diversity among different ORAs. Beneath the 300 m depth, the global-averaged salinity anomalies from most ORAs switch their trends from a slightly growing trend before 2002 to a decreasing trend after 2002. The rapid switch in the trend is most likely an artefact of the dramatic change in the observing system due to the implementation of Argo. © 2015 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg Source

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