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Reconstructing Large- and Mesoscale Dynamics in the Black Sea Region from Satellite Imagery and Altimetry Data—A Comparison of Two Methods

Marine Hydrophysical Institute of RAS, Federal State Budget Scientific Institution, Sevastopol, str. Kapitanskaya, 2, 299011 Russia
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Remote Sens. 2018, 10(2), 239; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10020239
Received: 27 December 2017 / Revised: 29 January 2018 / Accepted: 30 January 2018 / Published: 5 February 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ocean Surface Currents: Progress in Remote Sensing and Validation)
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Abstract

Two remote sensing methods, satellite altimetry and 4D-Var assimilation of satellite imagery, are used to compute surface velocity fields in the Black Sea region. Surface currents derived from the two methods are compared for several cases with intense mesoscale and large-scale dynamics during low wind conditions. Comparison shows that the obtained results coincide well quantitatively and qualitatively. However, satellite imagery provides more reasonable results on the spatial variability of coastal dynamics than altimetry data. In particular, this is related to the reconstruction of eddy coastal dynamics, such as Black Sea near-shore anticyclones. Current streamlines in these eddies are not closed near the coast in altimetry data, which we relate to the extrapolation during mapping procedure in the absence of coastal along-track measurements. On the other hand, in offshore areas, imagery-derived currents can be underestimated due to the absence of thermal contrasts and smoothing during the procedure of the 4D-Var assimilation. Wind drift currents are another source of inconsistency, as their impact is directly observed in satellite imagery but absent in altimetry data. The advantage of the 4D-Var method for reconstructing coastal dynamics is used to compute surface currents in the Marmara Sea on the base of 250 m resolution Modis optical data. The results reveal the very complex dynamics of the basin, with a large number of mesoscale and sub-mesoscale eddies. 4D-Var assimilation of Modis imagery is used to obtain information about dynamic characteristics of these small eddies with radiuses of 4–10 km. View Full-Text
Keywords: current velocity; satellite imagery; image sequences; altimetry; coastal dynamics; Black Sea; Marmara Sea; variational assimilation; sub-mesoscale dynamics; 4D-Var current velocity; satellite imagery; image sequences; altimetry; coastal dynamics; Black Sea; Marmara Sea; variational assimilation; sub-mesoscale dynamics; 4D-Var
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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 (CC BY 4.0).
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Kubryakov, A.; Plotnikov, E.; Stanichny, S. Reconstructing Large- and Mesoscale Dynamics in the Black Sea Region from Satellite Imagery and Altimetry Data—A Comparison of Two Methods. Remote Sens. 2018, 10, 239.

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