Properties, Mechanisms and Predictability of Eddies in the Red Sea
ProgramEarth Sciences and Engineering
KAUST DepartmentPhysical Sciences and Engineering (PSE) Division
MetadataShow full item record
AbstractEddies are one of the key features of the Red Sea circulation. They are not only crucial for energy conversion among dynamics at diﬀerent scales, but also for materials transport across the basin. This thesis focuses on studying the characteristics of Red Sea eddies, including their temporal and spatial properties, their energy budget, the mechanisms of their evolution, and their predictability. Remote sensing data, in-situ observations, the oceanic general circulation model, and data assimilation techniques were employed in this thesis. The eddies in the Red Sea were ﬁrst identiﬁed using altimeter data by applying an improved winding-angle method, based on which the statistical properties of those eddies were derived. The results suggested that eddies occur more frequently in the central basin of the Red Sea and exhibit a signiﬁcant seasonal variation. The mechanisms of the eddies’ evolution, particularly the eddy kinetic energy budget, were then investigated based on the outputs of a long-term eddy resolving numerical model conﬁgured for the Red Sea with realistic forcing. Examination of the energy budget revealed that the eddies acquire the vast majority of kinetic energy through conversion of eddy available potential energy via baroclinic instability, which is intensiﬁed during winter. The possible factors modulating the behavior of the several observed eddies in the Red Sea were then revealed by conducting a sensitivity analysis using the adjoint model. These eddies were found to exhibit diﬀerent sensitivities to external forcings, suggesting diﬀerent mechanisms for their evolution. This is the ﬁrst known adjoint sensitivity study on speciﬁc eddy events in the Red Sea and was hitherto not previously appreciated. The last chapter examines the predictability of Red Sea eddies using an ensemble-based forecasting and assimilation system. The forecast sea surface height was used to evaluate the overall performance of the short-term eddy predictability. Diﬀerent ensemble sampling schemes were implemented, and the investigation among diﬀerent schemes is followed by a discussion of performance and challenges based on the results of a case study. The thesis not only enhances understanding of the Red Sea dynamics, but also deepens knowledge of the physical-biological and air-sea interactions within the basin. Further, it is a stepping stone to building a robust regional operational system with reﬁned forecasting skills.