Comparison and validation of global and regional ocean forecasting systems for the South China Sea
In this paper, the performance of two operational ocean forecasting systems, the global Mercator Océan (MO) Operational System, developed and maintained by Mercator Océan in France, and the regional South China Sea Operational Forecasting System (SCSOFS), by the National Marine Environmental Forecasting Center (NMEFC) in China, have been examined. Both systems can provide science-based nowcast/forecast products of temperature, salinity, water level, and ocean circulations. Comparison and validation of the ocean circulations, the structures of temperature and salinity, and some mesoscale activities, such as ocean fronts, typhoons, and mesoscale eddies, are conducted based on observed satellite and in situ data obtained in 2012 in the South China Sea. The results showed that MO performs better in simulating the ocean circulations and sea surface temperature (SST), and SCSOFS performs better in simulating the structures of temperature and salinity. For the mesoscale activities, the performance of SCSOFS is better than MO in simulating SST fronts and SST decrease during Typhoon Tembin compared with the previous studies and satellite data; but model results from both of SCSOFS and MO show some differences from satellite observations. In conclusion, some recommendations have been proposed for both forecast systems to improve their forecasting performance in the near future based on our comparison and validation.