CORDIS - EU research results

Global Statistics of Ocean Currents

Final Report Summary - GSOC (Global Statistics of Ocean Currents)

EU researchers are expanding a database filled with vital information about the world's oceans. The work will create an important resource for modelling these water bodies.
Main text
The Global Multi-Archive Current Meter Database (GMACMD) is a global collection of oceanographic time series data. The data are mainly derived from moored ocean current meter, temperature and other in situ sources. The aim of the GSOC (Global statistics of ocean currents) project is to increase the size of the database and implement automatic quality control checks on the metadata.

In addition, the initiative will estimate the global energy dissipation due to interactions of ocean currents with the seafloor. By measuring the rate of dissipation, scientists can understand the main sources of energy driving ocean currents and the physical processes responsible for dispersing this energy. An important part of the energy dissipation process is the generation of internal waves resulting from flow over a rough ocean floor.

Results indicate that estimates by other researchers are too low, mainly because their models of abyssal currents were not validated with in situ measurements. GSOC work will therefore help improve climate simulations through important changes to the climatically significant thermohaline circulation (sometimes called the oceanic conveyor belt).

Another project objective is to determine the statistical accuracy of the ocean currents simulated using global models of tides and the general circulation. The GMACMD was used to determine the state of the art for global ocean tidal model simulations. During the project the GMACMD expanded from approximately 44 000 records to over 76 000 and now represents the largest freely available collection of such records.

The results from GSOC will be useful for many applications, including planning new observational programmes such as satellite missions and validating ocean numerical modelling projects. It will also help scientists understand related physical processes and comparisons with theoretical predictions.

Ocean currents, Global Multi-Archive Current Meter Database, energy dissipation, abyssal currents, thermohaline circulation


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