Publication details.


Author(s):J. Isern-Fontanet, E. García-Ladona, J. Jiménez-Madrid, E. Olmedo, M. García-Sotillo, A. Orfila, A. Turiel
Title:Real-time reconstruction of surface velocities from satellite observations in the alboran sea
Journal:Remote Sensing
Issue No.:4
Abstract:© 2020 by the author.Surface currents in the Alboran Sea are characterized by a very fast evolution that is not well captured by altimetric maps due to sampling limitations. On the contrary, satellite infrared measurements provide high resolution synoptic images of the ocean at high temporal rate, allowing to capture the evolution of the flow. The capability of Surface Quasi-Geostrophic (SQG) dynamics to retrieve surface currents from thermal images was evaluated by comparing resulting velocities with in situ observations provided by surface drifters. A difficulty encountered comes from the lack of information about ocean salinity. We propose to exploit the strong relationship between salinity and temperature to identify water masses with distinctive salinity in satellite images and use this information to correct buoyancy. Once corrected, our results show that the SQG approach can retrieve ocean currents slightly better to that of near-real-time currents derived from altimetry in general, but much better in areas badly sampled by altimeters such as the area to the east of the Strait of Gibraltar. Although this area is far from the geostrophic equilibrium, the results show that the good sampling of infrared radiometers allows at least retrieving the direction of ocean currents in this area. The proposed approach can be used in other areas of the ocean for which water masses with distinctive salinity can be identified from satellite observations.

Related staff

  • Alejandro Orfila Förster
  • Related departments

  • Oceanography and Global Change
  • Related research groups

  • Marine Technologies, Operational and Coastal Oceanography