Abstract's details

GlobCurrent: What's it all about?

Graham Quartly (PML, United Kingdom)


Johnny Johannessen (NERSC, Norway); Bertrand Chapron (IFREMER, France); Fabrice Collard (Ocean Data Lab, France); Rick Danielson (NE|RSC, Norway); Craig Donlon (ESA, The Netherlands); Gilles Larnicol (CLS, France); Cristina Martin-Puig (isardSAT, Poland); Jean-Francois Piolle (IFREMER, France); Marie-Hélène Rio (CLS, France); Jamie Shutler (PML, United Kingdom)

Event: 2014 Ocean Surface Topography Science Team Meeting

Session: Near Real Time Products and Applications and Multi-Mission, Multi-Sensor Observations

Presentation type: Type Poster

Contribution: PDF file


Surface currents is one of the ocean properties that most impacts on society through its effects on shipping, movement of sediment, transport of fish eggs and larvae, pollution dispersal or search and rescue. However, once you look deeper into the issue, you realise that different communities have different definitions of surface, and requirements at very different spatial and temporal resolutions. ESA have initiated the GlobCurrent project to service the need of these varied user communities, with the ultimate aim of providing reliable and timely current fields tailored to their needs. In some cases a purely geostrophic flow field will suffice, whilst in others Ekman flow, Stokes' drift and tidal currents are also of interest. The depth of the relevant surface current will vary according to whether surface floats or large merchant ships are the objects being considered.

To address these varied needs, GlobCurrent will provide a solution underpinned by the framework of geostrophic currents from altimetry, augmented by information from multiple sensing technologies that provide additional spatial and temporal resolution. Methodologies contributing will include maximum cross-correlation from frequent geostationary images, surface quasi-geostrophy inversion of thermal images, wind-induced flow predicted from numerical weather models and Doppler currents from SAR processing. The output of these individual techniques is variable, depending upon the scheduling of SAR scenes, the frequency of occurrence of cloud-free optical or thermal images and whether those currents have a clear thermal signal. Care is required to merge these separate records maintaining the high-resolution aspects of the fields where pertinent.

This poster will show the evolution of this project within its first year and will illustrate how easily data may be selected and handled.
Graham Quartly
United Kingdom