Oceanography > Issues > Archive > Volume 24, Issue 4

2011, Oceanography 24(4):110–121, http://dx.doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2011.99

Circulation and Intrusions Northeast of Taiwan:
Chasing and Predicting Uncertainty in the Cold Dome

Authors | Abstract | Full Article | Citation | References


Glen Gawarkiewicz | Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, MA, USA

Sen Jan | Institute of Oceanography, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan

Pierre F.J. Lermusiaux | Department of Mechanical Engineering, MIT, Cambridge, MA, USA

Julie L. McClean | Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, CA, USA

Luca Centurioni | Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, CA, USA

Kevin Taylor | School of Oceanography, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA

Bruce Cornuelle | Scripps Institution of Oceanography, San Diego, CA, USA

Timothy F. Duda | Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, MA, USA

Joe Wang | Institute of Oceanography, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan

Yiing Jiang Yang | Department of Marine Science, Naval Academy, Tsoying, Kaohsiung, Taiwan

Thomas Sanford | Applied Physics Laboratory and School of Oceanography, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA

Ren-Chieh Lien | Applied Physics Laboratory, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA

Craig Lee | Applied Physics Laboratory and School of Oceanography, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA

Ming-An Lee | College of Ocean Science and Resource, National Taiwan Ocean University, Keelung, Taiwan

Wayne Leslie | Department of Mechanical Engineering, MIT, Cambridge, MA, USA

Patrick J. Haley Jr. | Department of Mechanical Engineering, MIT, Cambridge, MA, USA

Pearn P. Niiler | Scripps Institution of Oceanography, San Diego, CA, USA

Ganesh Gopalakrishnan | Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, CA, USA

Pedro Velez-Belchi | Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, CA, USA

Dong-Kyu Lee | Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, CA, USA

Yoo Yin Kim | Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, CA, USA



An important element of present oceanographic research is the assessment and quantification of uncertainty. These studies are challenging in the coastal ocean due to the wide variety of physical processes occurring on a broad range of spatial and temporal scales. In order to assess new methods for quantifying and predicting uncertainty, a joint Taiwan-US field program was undertaken in August/September 2009 to compare model forecasts of uncertainties in ocean circulation and acoustic propagation, with high-resolution in situ observations. The geographical setting was the continental shelf and slope northeast of Taiwan, where a feature called the "cold dome" frequently forms. Even though it is hypothesized that Kuroshio subsurface intrusions are the water sources for the cold dome, the dome's dynamics are highly uncertain, involving multiple scales and many interacting ocean features. During the experiment, a combination of near-surface and profiling drifters, broad-scale and high-resolution hydrography, mooring arrays, remote sensing, and regional ocean model forecasts of fields and uncertainties were used to assess mean fields and uncertainties in the region. River runoff from Typhoon Morakot, which hit Taiwan August 7–8, 2009, strongly affected shelf stratification. In addition to the river runoff, a cold cyclonic eddy advected into the region north of the Kuroshio, resulting in a cold dome formation event. Uncertainty forecasts were successfully employed to guide the hydrographic sampling plans. Measurements and forecasts also shed light on the evolution of cold dome waters, including the frequency of eddy shedding to the north-northeast, and interactions with the Kuroshio and tides. For the first time in such a complex region, comparisons between uncertainty forecasts and the model skill at measurement locations validated uncertainty forecasts. To complement the real-time model simulations, historical simulations with another model show that large Kuroshio intrusions were associated with low sea surface height anomalies east of Taiwan, suggesting that there may be some degree of predictability for Kuroshio intrusions.


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