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Remote Sens. 2013, 5(8), 4088-4106; doi:10.3390/rs5084088
Article

Correlation between Synthetic Aperture Radar Surface Winds and Deep Water Velocity in the Amundsen Sea, Antarctica

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Received: 7 June 2013 / Revised: 10 July 2013 / Accepted: 6 August 2013 / Published: 16 August 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Observing the Ocean’s Interior from Satellite Remote Sensing)
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Abstract

The recent observed thinning of the glacier ice shelves in the Amundsen Sea (Antarctica) has been attributed to warm deep currents, possibly induced by along-coast winds in the vicinity of the glacial ice sheet. Here, high resolution maps of wind fields derived from Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) data have been studied and correlated with subsurface measurements of the deep water velocities in the Amundsen Sea area. Focus is on periods with low ice coverage in 2010 and 2011. In 2010, which had comparatively low ice coverage, the results indicate a more rapid response to wind forcing in the deep currents than in 2011. The SAR wind speed maps have better spatial resolution than available reanalysis data, and higher maximum correlation was obtained with SAR data than with reanalysis data despite the lower temporal resolution. The maximum correlation was R = 0.71, in a direction that is consistent with wind-driven Ekman theory. This is significantly larger than in previous studies. The larger correlation could be due to the better spatial resolution or the restriction to months with minimum ice coverage. The results indicate that SAR is a useful complement to infer the subsurface variability of the ocean circulation in remote areas in polar oceans.
Keywords: Amundsen Sea; surface wind; Synthetic Aperture Radar; ocean; deep water velocity; ERA interim; Envisat ASAR Amundsen Sea; surface wind; Synthetic Aperture Radar; ocean; deep water velocity; ERA interim; Envisat ASAR
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Carvajal, G.K.; Wåhlin, A.K.; Eriksson, L.E.; Ulander, L.M. Correlation between Synthetic Aperture Radar Surface Winds and Deep Water Velocity in the Amundsen Sea, Antarctica. Remote Sens. 2013, 5, 4088-4106.

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