Evidences of Seasonal Variation in Altimetry Derived Ocean Tides in the Subarctic Ocean

  • Author(s): Hok Sum Fok, C. K. Shum, Yuchan Yi, Alexander Braun, and H. Baki Iz
  • DOI: 10.3319/TAO.2012.11.16.01(TibXS)
  • Keywords: Seasonal ocean tides, Satellite altimetry, Subarctic Ocean



While the barotropic ocean tides in the deep ocean are well modeled to ~2 cm RMS, accurate tidal prediction in the ice-covered polar oceans and near coastal regions remain elusive. A notable reason is that the most accurate satellite altimeters (TOPEX/Jason-1/-2), whose orbits are optimized to minimize the tidal aliasing effect, have spatial coverage limited to largely outside of the polar ocean. Here, we update the assessment of tidal models using 7 contemporary global and regional models, and show that the altimetry sea surface height (SSH) anomaly residual after tidal correction is 9 - 12 cm RMS in the Subarctic Ocean. We then address the hypothesis whether plausible evidence of variable tidal signals exist in the seasonally ice-covered Subarctic Ocean, where the sea ice cover is undergoing rapid thinning. We first found a difference in variance reduction for multi-mission altimeter SSH anomaly residuals during the summer and winter seasons, with the residual during winter season 15 - 30% larger than that during the summer season. Experimental seasonal ocean tide solutions derived from satellite altimetry reveals that the recovered winter and summer tidal constituents generally differ by a few cm in amplitude and tens of degrees in phase. Relatively larger seasonal tidal patterns, in particular for M2, S2 and K1 tides, have been identified in the Chukchi Sea study region near eastern Siberia, coincident with the seasonal presence and movement of sea ice.

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