A fast, recently developed, multiscale optimal interpolation algorithm has been adapted to the mapping of hydrographic and other oceanographic data. This algorithm produces solution and error estimates which are consistent with those obtained from exact least squares methods, but at a small fraction of the computational cost. Problems whose solution would be completely impractical using exact least squares, that is, problems with tens or hundreds of thousands of measurements and estimation grid points, can easily be solved on a small workstation using the multiscale algorithm. In contrast to methods previously proposed for solving large least squares problems, our approach provides estimation error statistics while permitting long-range correlations, using all measurements, and permitting arbitrary measurement locations. The multiscale algorithm itself, published elsewhere, is not the focus of this paper. However, the algorithm requires statistical models having a very particular multiscale structure; it is the development of a class of multiscale statistical models, appropriate for oceanographic mapping problems, with which we concern ourselves in this paper. The approach is illustrated by mapping temperature in the northeastern Pacific. The number of hydrographic stations is kept deliberately small to show that multiscale and exact least squares results are comparable. A portion of the data were not used in the analysis; these data serve to test the multiscale estimates. A major advantage of the present approach is the ability to repeat the estimation procedure a large number of times for sensitivity studies, parameter estimation, and model testing. We have made available by anonymous Ftp a set of MATLAB-callable routines which implement the multiscale algorithm and the statistical models developed in this paper.

}, isbn = {0148-0227}, doi = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/97JC00697}, author = {D Menemenlis and P Fieguth and C Wunsch and A Willsky} }