Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Meteorology and Physical Oceanography (Marine)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Lynn K. Shay

Second Committee Member

Bruce Albrecht

Third Committee Member

Arthur Mariano

Fourth Committee Member

Eric Uhlhorn


The Systematically merged Pacific Ocean Regional Temperature and Salinity (SPORTS) climatology was created to estimate oceanic heat content (OHC) for the North Pacific (McCaskill et al., 2015). A technique similar to the creation of the Systematically Merged Atlantic Regional Temperature and Salinity climatology was used to blend temperature and salinity fields from the Generalized Digital Environment Model and World Ocean Atlas 2001 at a 0.25° resolution (Meyers et al., 2014). The weighting for the blending of these two climatologies was estimated by minimizing residual covariances across the basin and accounting for drift velocities associated with eddy variability using a series of 3-year sea surface height anomalies (SSHA) tracks to insure continuity between the periods of differing altimeters. In addition to producing daily estimates of the 20°C and 26°C isotherm depths (and their mean ratios), mixed layer depth, reduced gravities, and OHC, the SSHA product includes mapping errors given the differing repeat tracks from the altimeters and sensor uncertainties. These SPORTS products are available daily in near real-time on the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science (RSMAS) Upper Ocean Dynamics research website and operationally at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NEDSIS). Using SPORTS with satellite-derived sea-surface temperature (SST) and SSHA fields from radar altimetry, daily OHC has been estimated from 2000 to 2011 using a 2.5-layer model approach. Argo profiling-floats, expendable probes from ships and aircraft, long-term TAO moorings, and drifters provide over 267,000 quality controlled in-situ thermal profiles to assess uncertainty in estimates from SPORTS. The in-situ profiles were used to evaluate the SPORTS OHC with a basin-wide regression analysis. TAO moorings and XBT transects were used to evaluate SPORTS OHC on a regional scale temporally and spatially. A case study with the storms from the ONR-sponsored Impact of Typhoons on the Ocean in the Pacific (ITOP) 2010 experiments used SPORTS OHC to determine how OHC conditions before the storm contributed tropical cyclone (TC) intensification and TC induced ocean response. The SPORTS OHC before each TC showed that high OHC and horizontal ocean thermal gradients helped the ITOP storms intensify and maintain high TC intensity. Enthalpy fluxes were examined during the time while each TC intensified to its peak intensity to further investigate the TC intensification. The SPORTS OHC also helped explain the TC induced ocean SST cooling pattern. The momentum fluxes were calculated over the life cycle of the TCs to better understand the TC induced ocean response. This thesis research was ultimately aimed at the public who must rely on the most advanced modeling systems to prepare for landfalling storms over the globe. An expected contribution of this research to society is a new daily real-time operational and 16-year archive SPORTS OHC that opens doors for avenues of research in the North Pacific Ocean basin.


Ocean Heat Content; North Pacific; Climatology; Ocean; Mixed Layer