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Open AccessLetter

Improving the Altimeter-Derived Surface Currents Using Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Data: A Sensitivity Study to SST Products

1
Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Istituto di Scienze Marine (CNR-ISMAR), 00133 Rome, Italy
2
European Space Agency, European Space Research Institute (ESA-ESRIN), 00044 Frascati, Italy
3
Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Istituto di Scienze Marine (CNR-ISMAR), 80133 Naples, Italy
4
Collecte Localisation Satellites (CLS), 31520 Ramonville St-Agne, France
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(10), 1601; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12101601
Received: 23 March 2020 / Revised: 14 May 2020 / Accepted: 15 May 2020 / Published: 17 May 2020
Measurements of ocean surface topography collected by satellite altimeters provide geostrophic estimates of the sea surface currents at relatively low resolution. The effective spatial and temporal resolution of these velocity estimates can be improved by optimally combining altimeter data with sequences of high resolution interpolated (Level 4) Sea Surface Temperature (SST) data, improving upon present-day values of approximately 100 km and 15 days at mid-latitudes. However, the combined altimeter/SST currents accuracy depends on the area and input SST data considered. Here, we present a comparative study based on three satellite-derived daily SST products: the Remote Sensing Systems (REMSS, 1/10 resolution), the UK Met Office OSTIA (1/20 resolution), and the Multiscale Ultra-High resolution SST (1/100 resolution). The accuracy of the marine currents computed with our synergistic approach is assessed by comparisons with in-situ estimated currents derived from a global network of drifting buoys. Using REMSS SST, the meridional currents improve up to more than 20% compared to simple altimeter estimates. The maximum global improvements for the zonal currents are obtained using OSTIA SST, and reach 6%. Using the OSTIA SST also results in slight improvements (≃1.3%) in the zonal flow estimated in the Southern Ocean (45 S to 70 S). The homogeneity of the input SST effective spatial resolution is identified as a crucial requirement for an accurate surface current reconstruction. In our analyses, this condition was best satisfied by the lower resolution SST products considered. View Full-Text
Keywords: sea surface temperature; ocean currents; altimetry; earth observations synergy sea surface temperature; ocean currents; altimetry; earth observations synergy
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Ciani, D.; Rio, M.-H.; Nardelli, B.B.; Etienne, H.; Santoleri, R. Improving the Altimeter-Derived Surface Currents Using Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Data: A Sensitivity Study to SST Products. Remote Sens. 2020, 12, 1601.

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