Development of Data Visualization Tools in Support of Quality Control of Temperature Variability in the Equatorial Pacific Observed by the Tropical Atmosphere Ocean Data Buoy Array

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Wednesday, 7 January 2015
Elaina R. Barta, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX

Handout (1.3 MB)

El Niņo Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is characterized by a near abeyance in the trade winds in the equatorial Pacific, leading to unusually warm sea surface temperatures off the coast of Peru and Ecuador. This elongation of warm water at the ocean's surface influences the hydrologic cycle on a global scale and modifies worldwide precipitation patterns. Monitoring changes in ocean surface and subsurface temperatures at the equator is crucial to anticipating the development and intensity of these ENSO events. The Tropical Atmosphere Ocean (TAO) array consists of 55 buoys positioned in the equatorial Pacific whose primary purpose is to collect in situ temperature observations and relay the data back to the National Data Buoy Center (NDBC) in real-time where data analysts work round-the-clock to quality control this data and make it available to researchers, forecasters, and the general public. However, the dynamic variations in ocean temperature inherent to the equatorial Pacific make it challenging for data analysts to set thresholds to quantify and exclude bad data; therefore, NDBC has a need for a statistical analysis of TAO data over the past 10 years that will be used to create an automated quality control algorithm as well as data visualization tools to assist data analysts in identifying erroneous data. This project builds upon an existing statistical analysis of TAO data over the past 10 years to create and develop preliminary data visualization tools to support quality control and explores other potentially useful statistical parameters that might aid NDBC data analysts in their quality control process.