The potential for using synergistic combinations of measurements from autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) and output from three-dimensional numerical models for studying the central California coastal region is demonstrated. Two case studies are used to illustrate the approach. In the first, propeller-driven AUV observations revealed a subsurface salinity minimum in northern Monterey Bay. A Regional Ocean Modeling System (ROMS) reanalysis of the three-dimensional flow in the region suggested an offshore source for this water and particular propagation pathways from the south and west into the bay. In the second case study, the effectiveness of assimilating observations in improving the ROMS reanalysis fields is investigated. A significant improvement, especially in the salinity fields, is demonstrated through a single glider deployed outside the intensive observational domain. These results suggest that investigation of more sophisticated techniques for using data and models together is warranted. Such techniques include increasing model resolution in areas of interest identified by observing platforms and using model-based "targeted observing" techniques to identify areas of uncertainty in the flow to guide placement of observational assets.



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