The Synergy of Data From Profiling Floats, Machine Learning and Numerical Modeling: Case of the Black Sea Euphotic Zone


Data from profiling floats in the Black Sea revealed complex temporal and spatial relationships between physical variables and oxygen, chlorophyll and the backscattering coefficient at 700 nm, as well as some limits in understanding the details of biogeochemistry dynamics. To account for different interdependences between physical and biogeochemical properties, a feedforward backpropagation neural network (NN) was used. This NN learns from data recorded by profiling floats and predicts biogeochemical states using physical measurements only. The performance was very high, particularly for oxygen, but it decreased when the NN was applied to older data because the interrelationships between the physical and biogeochemical properties have changed recently. The biogeochemical states reconstructed by the NN using physical data produced by a coupled physical–biogeochemical operational model were better than the biogeochemical outputs of the same coupled model. Therefore, the use of data from profiling floats, physical properties from numerical models and NNs appears to be a powerful approach for reconstructing the 4D dynamics of the euphotic zone. Basin-wide patterns and temporal variabilities in oxygen, backscattering coefficient and chlorophyll were also analyzed. Of particular interest is the reconstruction of short-lived biogeochemical features, particularly in coastal anticyclone areas, which are difficult to observe with available floats at the basin scale.
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