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Ocean Surface Topography from Space
Operational satellite altimetry in shelf and coastal seas


Jacob Hoyer - (Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI))

  Kristine Madsen
(Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI))


Operational satellite altimetry in shelf and coastal seas
Example of satellite track (blue) and tide gauges used for validation (red circles).
The research and development that will be carried out in this proposal is focused upon the application of operational satellite altimetry in shelf sea/coastal sea, the validation of the satellite observations in these regions, and the near real time determination of sea level, using a combination of in situ and satellite observations. Two different investigations are proposed to validate the regional satellite products and extend the use of satellite altimetry observations for operational purposes.

The fields of research are:

  1. Real time sea level in the North Sea and Baltic Sea from satellite altimetry
    DMI has access to a large number of historical and real time tide gauge observations in the North Sea/Baltic Sea and they provide the basis for this study, together with the satellite altimetry observations. Error statistics will be calculated for the Jason-2/Ocean Surface Topography Mission, with special focus upon the improvement in the near coastal data retrieval. A statistical model that combines the altimetry and tide gauge observations has proven to perform similar to the DMI hydrodynamic storm surge model in describing the real time sea level variability in the region. The statistical model has previously been applied to test cases but within the ESA-eSurge project, the statistical model will be run for up for several extreme storm surge events and will be demonstrated in an operational mode.

    In addition, data assimilation impact assessment studies will be performed in ESA-eSurge, where the blended satellite-in situ product is assimilated into a hydrodynamic 3-D model to demonstrate the benefit of using satellite altimetry observations in operational storm surge models. The effect of using dedicated coastal altimetry products will also be assessed.
  2. Eddy kinetic energy off Greenland
    A region with large mixing southwest of Greenland has been observed to play a role in the formation and spreading of Labrador Sea Water as well as in the transport of fish larvae. A regional high resolution model for the Greenland waters will be used together with satellite observations (TOPEX/Poseidon, Jason-1 and Jason-2), repeated conductivity–temperature–depth (CTD) sections, and surface float drifters to investigate the eddy kinetic energy region.

    The observations and the model will be used to perform a comparative study between the different representations of eddy kinetic energy. The combination of the large number of observations with the high resolution model will provide new detailed insight into the spatial and temporal characteristics of the eddy kinetic energy in the region. Temporal changes in the mixing may affect the formation of Labrador Sea Water and the regional transport of fish larvae, and the study will thus be valuable to both fisheries management and scientific colleagues. This work will be carried out within the Greenland Climate Research Centre.

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