Estimating the distribution of colored dissolved organic matter during the Southern Ocean Gas Exchange Experiment using four‐dimensional variational data assimilation
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Estimating the distribution of colored dissolved organic matter during the Southern Ocean Gas Exchange Experiment using four‐dimensional variational data assimilation

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  • Journal Title:
    Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans
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    We diagnosed the effect of various physical processes on the distribution of mixed‐layer colored dissolved organic matter (CDOM) and a sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) tracer during the Southern Ocean Gas Exchange Experiment (SO GasEx). The biochemical upper ocean state estimate uses in situ and satellite biochemical and physical data in the study region, including CDOM (absorption coefficient and spectral slope), SF6, hydrography, and sea level anomaly. Modules for photobleaching of CDOM and surface transport of SF6 were coupled with an ocean circulation model for this purpose. The observed spatial and temporal variations in CDOM were captured by the state estimate without including any new biological source term for CDOM, assuming it to be negligible over the 26 days of the state estimate. Thermocline entrainment and photobleaching acted to diminish the mixed‐layer CDOM with time scales of 18 and 16 days, respectively. Lateral advection of CDOM played a dominant role and increased the mixed‐layer CDOM with a time scale of 12 days, whereas lateral diffusion of CDOM was negligible. A Lagrangian view on the CDOM variability was demonstrated by using the SF6 as a weighting function to integrate the CDOM fields. This and similar data assimilation methods can be used to provide reasonable estimates of optical properties, and other physical parameters over the short‐term duration of a research cruise, and help in the tracking of tracer releases in large‐scale oceanographic experiments, and in oceanographic process studies.
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    Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 122(3), 2029-2049
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    2169-9275;2169-9291;
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