Combining neural networks and data assimilation to enhance the spatial impact of Argo floats in the Copernicus Mediterranean biogeochemical model

Amadio, Carolina; Teruzzi, Anna; Pietropolli, Gloria; Manzoni, Luca; Coidessa, Gianluca; Cossarini, Gianpiero

Biogeochemical-Argo (BGC-Argo) float profiles provide substantial information on key vertical biogeochemical dynamics and have been successfully integrated in biogeochemical models via data assimilation approaches. Although BGC-Argo assimilation results have been encouraging, data scarcity remains a limitation with respect to their effective use in operational oceanography.

To address availability gaps in the BGC-Argo profiles, an observing system experiment (OSE) that combines a neural network (NN) and data assimilation (DA) was performed here. A NN was used to reconstruct nitrate profiles, starting from oxygen profiles and associated Argo variables (pressure, temperature, and salinity), while a variational data assimilation scheme (3DVarBio) was upgraded to integrate BGC-Argo and reconstructed observations in the Copernicus Mediterranean operational forecast system (MedBFM). To ensure the high quality of oxygen data, a post-deployment quality control method was developed with the aim of detecting and eventually correcting potential sensors drift.

The Mediterranean OSE features three different set-ups: a control run without assimilation; a multivariate run with assimilation of BGC-Argo chlorophyll, nitrate, and oxygen; and a multivariate run that also assimilates reconstructed observations.

The general improvement in the skill performance metrics demonstrated the feasibility of integrating new variables (oxygen and reconstructed nitrate). Major benefits have been observed with respect to reproducing specific biogeochemical-process-based dynamics such as the nitracline dynamics, primary production, and oxygen vertical dynamics.

The assimilation of BGC-Argo nitrate corrects a generally positive bias of the model in most of the Mediterranean areas, and the addition of reconstructed profiles makes the corrections even stronger. The impact of enlarged nitrate assimilation propagates to ecosystem processes (e.g. primary production) at a basin-wide scale, demonstrating the importance of the assimilation of BGC-Argo profiles in forecasting the biogeochemical ocean state.

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Amadio, Carolina / Teruzzi, Anna / Pietropolli, Gloria / et al: Combining neural networks and data assimilation to enhance the spatial impact of Argo floats in the Copernicus Mediterranean biogeochemical model. 2024. Copernicus Publications.

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