Ocean Dynamics

, Volume 69, Issue 2, pp 267–282 | Cite as

Temperature profiling measurements by sea turtles improve ocean state estimation in the Kuroshio-Oyashio Confluence region

  • Yasumasa MiyazawaEmail author
  • Akira Kuwano-Yoshida
  • Takeshi Doi
  • Hatsumi Nishikawa
  • Tomoko Narazaki
  • Takuya Fukuoka
  • Katsufumi Sato
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on the 10th International Workshop on Modeling the Ocean (IWMO), Santos, Brazil, 25-28 June 2018


We demonstrate that assimilation of water temperature measurements by sea turtles into an operational ocean nowcast/forecast system improves representation of mesoscale eddies and front variations in the Kuroshio-Oyashio Confluence region. For a period from August to December in 2009, vertical ranges of the measurements by six turtles covered from surface to maximum 150 m depth, and the number of the measurements in the region was comparable to that of usual sampling by research vehicles and profiling floats. Comparison of the turtle measurements and products of an operational ocean nowcast/forecast system JCOPE2M elucidated low-temperature bias in JCOPE2M due to assimilation of high-resolution satellite sea surface temperature data. Additional assimilation of the turtle data into a modified JCOPE2M system with correction of the low-temperature bias led to reasonable modification of horizontal temperature/salinity gradient associated with northward moving warm core rings separating from the Kuroshio Extension and southward moving the Oyashio water intrusion branches. Effects of the turtle data assimilation propagated to far east of the Kuroshio-Oyashio confluence region along the subarctic boundary and front through advection. Another experiment assimilating the in situ profile data excluding the traditional temperature/salinity profiles data but including only the turtle data showed that the turtle measurements captured the warm core rings better than the Oyashio intrusion branches, suggesting possible optimum design of future ocean observing systems composed of different kinds of animals and/or autonomous underwater vehicles.


Operational ocean nowcast/forecast system Sea turtles Biologging In situ temperature monitoring Multi-scale three-dimensional variational scheme 



This work is supported by a research project entitled “Cyber ocean: next generation navigation system on the sea” funded by the CREST program (JPMJCR1685) of Japan Science and Technology Agency. It is also a part of the Japan Coastal Ocean Predictability Experiment (JCOPE) promoted by the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC). The Ssalto/Duacs altimeter products were produced and distributed by the Copernicus Marine and Environment Monitoring Service (CMEMS) ( Merged Satellite and In-situ Data Global Daily SST (MGDSST) was obtained from the NEAR-GOOS regional real-time data base. The Advance Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) and Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) SST data were downloaded from the Physical Oceanography Distributed Active Archive Center (PODAAC) ftp site: In situ temperature and salinity profiles were obtained from the Global Temperature-Salinity Profile Program (GTSPP) website: Drifting buoys track data were obtained from the National Oceanographic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)’s Global Drifter Program website: Comments from two anonymous reviewers and a handling editor were quite useful for improving earlier versions of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Application LaboratoryJapan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and TechnologyYokohamaJapan
  2. 2.Disaster Prevention Research InstituteKyoto UniversityUjiJapan
  3. 3.Institute of Low Temperature ScienceHokkaido UniversitySapporoJapan
  4. 4.Atmosphere and Ocean Research InstituteThe University of TokyoKashiwaJapan

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