Coastal Altimetry: a review of scientific applications and synergies with complementary measurements
Event: 2017 Ocean Surface Topography Science Team Meeting
Session: Advances in coastal altimetry: measurement techniques, science applications and synergy with in situ and models
Presentation type: Type Oral
The coastal area is marked by energetic and complex dynamics covering a wide spectrum of space/time variability, often dominated by slope currents, rapidly evolving mesoscale structures as well as high-frequency extreme events and low-frequency sea level changes. The combination of these multi-scale hydrodynamic processes plays a key role on the across-shore transport and mixing of natural/anthropogenic elements, significantly affecting the biological and optical properties of water masses at the interface between the continental shelf and the open-ocean. It therefore appears fundamental to characterize and forecast the coastal dynamics in a synoptic way in order to better assess their impacts on human activities related to the protection of the marine environment and the sustainable management of coastal resources. These objectives require the support of high resolution modeling as well as long-term and regular observations. In this respect, the satellite altimeters represent an invaluable source of data that provides repetitive views of phenomena unachievable by other means. However, altimetry alone is not sufficient and new challenges still have to be faced concerning the altimetric noise reduction and the full scientific exploitation of both conventional (Ku-band pulse-limited altimetry) and new technologies (SAR/SARin, Ka-band altimetry) to characterise smaller scales of variability typical of coastal currents, winds / waves, sea level and extreme events. Over the past 10 years, continuous efforts have been made by the Coastal Altimetry Community to improve high resolution processing algorithms and develop new applications based on the synergy between coastal altimetry and complementary measurements. This paper proposes to make a review of the main advances in this field.