A Markov random field spatio-temporal analysis of ocean temperature
The National Oceanic Data Center (NODC) contains historical records from approximately 144,000 hydrographic stations in the North Atlantic. This data has been used by oceanographers to construct maps of point estimates of pressure, temperature, salinity and oxygen in the North Atlantic (Levitus (1994); Lozier et al. (1995)). Because data from any particular year are scarce, the previous maps have been for time-averaged values only. In addition, the maps have been reported without uncertainty estimates. This paper presents a Markov random field (MRF) analysis that can generate maps for specific time periods along with associated uncertainties. To estimate changes in oceanic properties over time previous oceanographic work has focused on differences between a few time periods each having many observations. Due to data scarcity this poses a severe restriction for both spatial and temporal coverage of climatic change. The MRF analysis provides a means for temporal modeling that does not require high data density at each time period. To demonstrate the usefulness of a MRF analysis of oceanic data we investigate the temporal variability along 24.5°N in the North Atlantic. Our results are compared to an earlier analysis (Parilla et al. (1994)) where data from only three time periods was used. We obtain a more thorough understanding of the temperature change found by this previous study.
Environmental and Ecological Statistics
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