Sensitivity Studies of the Red Sea Eddies Using Adjoint Method

Peng Zhan, Ganesh Gopalakrishnan, Aneesh C. Subramanian, Daquan Guo, Ibrahim Hoteit

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Adjoint sensitivity analysis are applied to a set of eddies in the Red Sea using a high-resolution MITgcm and its adjoint model. Previous studies have reported several eddy events in the Red Sea, namely, a dipole captured on August 17, 2001 in the southern Red Sea, a cyclonic eddy (CE) in November 2011 in the northern Red Sea, and an anticyclonic eddy (AE) in April 2010 in the central Red Sea. Sensitivity analysis is applied here to investigate the governing factors that control the intensity and evolution of these eddies. The eddies are first reproduced by running the MITgcm forward and their sensitivities to external atmospheric forcing and previous model states are then computed using the adjoint model. In the experiments, (relative) surface vorticity (curl of horizontal velocity) are defined as the objective function. The contributions of forcings and model states are quantified and investigated. The sensitivities to external forcings are distinct in different eddy events. The dipole in the central Red Sea is dominantly sensitive to the cross-basin eastward wind jet. The AE in the central Red Sea is most sensitive to the along-basin wind stress. The CE in the northern Red Sea is sensitive to the net heat flux and to surface elevation perturbations even from the remote southern Red Sea, which is attributed to the propagation of baroclinic Kelvin waves along the coast. Analysis of the sensitivity to model state variables suggests that these eddies are also modulated by the boundary currents and the temperature profile distributions.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8329-8345
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Oceans
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 19 2018

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: The topography data is derived from General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans (GEBCO: The open boundary conditions are extracted from the Estimating the Circulation and Climate of the Ocean (ECCO) product ( The data supporting the analysis presented here can be found at Figshare ( for 2018JC014531R/7243184/). The research reported in this manuscript is supported by King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) and made use of the resources of the Supercomputing Laboratory and computer clusters at KAUST.


Dive into the research topics of 'Sensitivity Studies of the Red Sea Eddies Using Adjoint Method'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this