Using dynamical interpolation to map high-resolution altimeter data in the Western Mediterranean Sea

Marine Rogé (LEGOS/CLS, France)

Event: 2016 Ocean Surface Topography Science Team Meeting

Session: Science II: From large-scale oceanography to coastal and shelf processes

Presentation type: Type Poster

The main oceanographic objective of the future SWOT mission is to characterize the ocean mesoscale and submesoscale circulation by observing the fine range of ocean dynamics (from 15-300 km). However it will not capture the time evolution of short mesoscale signals. Despite the very high spatial resolution of the future satellite, the temporal resolution is not sufficient to track the evolution of the small, rapid features (exact repeat cycle of 21 days, with near repeats around 5-10 days, depending on the latitude). High resolution SWOT sea surface height snapshots alone will not allow us to follow the dynamics of ocean variability at these scales, such as the formation and evolution of small eddies.

Here, we investigate a means to reconstruct the missing SSH signal in time between two satellite revisits. We use a shallow water quasi-geostrophic model developed by Ubelmann et al (2015). Based on potential vorticity conservation, it dynamically advects the SSH field, assuming that the quasi-geostrophic dynamics are principally captured by the first baroclinic mode. This model has been tested in energetic open ocean regions such as the Gulf Stream and the Californian Current, and has given improved results. Here we test this model in the Western Mediterranean Sea, where the first radius of deformation of Rossby is small (5-15 km), where the dynamics have a strong topographic control and strong spatial and seasonal variability. In this region, the technique provides a small improvement over linear interpolation in the coastal boundary current systems. The simple dynamical model is missing some physical mechanisms, needed to correctly represent the mesoscale circulation in this region, including a significant barotropic mode. We investigate modifications to the 1.5 layer model in this regional study, to include a topographic-beta effect and small-scale dissipation and an extension to a two-layer model. The results show an improved performance compared to simple linear interpolation, mainly in winter when there are strong small-scale eddy interactions. The sensibility to the model parameters and initialisation fields will be discussed.

Poster show times:

RoomStart DateEnd Date
Grande Halle Thu, Nov 03 2016,11:00 Thu, Nov 03 2016,18:00
Marine Rogé