Budget: 101322

The project "Reconstruction of the velocity field of the global ocean currents from satellite observations on the microwave spectrum" will be leaded by the researcher Jordi Isern, head of the Ocean Dynamics and Ocean group at the Climate Dynamics and Impacts Unit.
The ocean currents are a key element in the understanding of many oceanic and climatic phenomena and their knowledge is crucial for navigation and operational applications, such as the research of shipwrecked people or the reduction of fuel shipping consumption. For that reason, is very important to have a good estimate of the intensity and position of these currents. Currently, sea level measurements made by satellite can reconstruct the velocity field of the surface but with major errors in the location of the current when only two satellites are available at the same time, which is the usual situation. However, recent advances in the understanding of the dynamics of the of the ocean surface layers, suggest that the speed can also be estimated directly from a single satellite image of sea surface temperature (SST) using new methods. After analyzing the feasibility of these methods in different studies, this project is going to investigate how to obtain the currents on a global scale using satellite observations from a specific sensor: the microwave radiometer. The particularity of this kind of instrument is the fact that it can measure sea surface temperature through clouds, which is essential to restore global currents. In addition, taking advantage of the large number of available observations, the project is going to investigate the variability and spatial distribution of the observed currents.


The main objective is to develop and validate a methodology based in the approximation eSQG for the calculation of ocean currents at a global scale, which combines microwave and altimetric SST observations and investigating the variability and spatial distribution of the observed currents. 
  • - Characterising the capacity of the current microwave sensors for identifying the oceanic mesoscale structures
  • - Characterising the conditions under which the SST reflects the position of the oceanic structures
  • - Developing and validating a model based in the approximation eSQG, well adapted to the current satellite observations, that combines the microwave and altimetric SST observations
  • - Statistical analysis of the reconstructed oceanic currents at a global level

Privately funded project: Fundación Ramón Areces