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Estimation of the upper ocean 3D velocities from remotely sensed sea surface temperature


Surface ocean horizontal velocities are regularly estimated from altimetric measurements. However, these velocities are of relatively low spatial resolution. Infra-red sensors providing Sea Surface Temperature (SST) have considerably higher resolutions and have been already considered to gain in resolution with Maximum Cross Correlation techniques.

However, these methods require the availability of a time-series of cloud-free SST images, which is very difficult to obtain. Recently, researchers from the host institution (Ifremer) have proposed a new methodology, based on the Surface Quasigeostrophic theory. The proposed method now enables the estimation of surface currents from a single Sea Surface Temperature (SST) image.

According to this new theoretical framework, estimations of subsurface horizontal and vertical velocities in the first 500 meters of the upper ocean are possible. The main idea of this project is to thoroughly investigate the applicability of this theoretical framework to real remotely sense d data. To this end, first, the method will be thoroughly tested on the recent numerical simulations done with the Earth Simulator supercomputer (Japan) by the host institution.

These numerical simulations provides, for the first time, a benchmark for the infra-read SST (a domain of 1000x2000 km at 1 km of spatial resolution). Then, the method will be applied to infra-red and microwave SST. Results will be tested with available in situ measurements and altimetry.

The success of this proposal is not only a key opportunity to complement researcher's training with the state of the art in geophysical fluid dynamics and numerical simulations but also it may represent a milestone in the operational use of oceanographic satellites.

Field of science

  • /natural sciences/earth and related environmental sciences/oceanography
  • /natural sciences/physical sciences/classical mechanics/fluid mechanics/fluid dynamics

Call for proposal

See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

EIF - Marie Curie actions-Intra-European Fellowships