Nadir Altimetry vis-à-vis Swath Altimetry: A Study in the context of SWOT Mission for the Bay of Bengal
Event: 2020 Ocean Surface Topography Science Team Meeting (virtual)
Session: Science III: Mesoscale and sub-mesoscale oceanography
Presentation type: Type Forum only
Conventional nadir looking altimeters make along track measurements on a line and mapped sea level anomaly (SLA) information is obtained using a combination of several such altimeters (Jason, SARAL, Cryosat etc.). Mapping techniques, in general, introduce a lot of uncertainties in sea level representation and sub-mesoscale variability. Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) mission, based on radar interferometry, will measure SLA along wide swath thus providing detailed ocean information. This study aims to evaluate the advantages of SWOT measurements over nadir looking altimeters by making use of SWOT-simulator tool in the Bay of Bengal (BoB) region. Although, BoB is a small basin but interestingly it is full of mesoscale and sub-mesoscale features. The study performs several sensitivity experiments to allow a comparison of gridded SLA product from SWOT with the product from a constellation of nadir altimeters. Space-time scales for mapping the SLA from SWOT were obtained by performing a series of sensitivity experiments involving different spatial resolutions and temporal sampling. Sensitivity to different type of errors on the quality of mapped SLA fields from nadiraltimeters and SWOT is also carried out In case of SWOT, mapped SLA fields generated using correlated noise were better as compared to the maps that were generated by making an assumption that the noise is uncorrelated. It is found that gridded SLA from SWOT have less error in the eddy dominant (high variability) regions as compared to the mapped SLA field from nadir altimeters, which perform better in the regions of low SLA variability. Apart from this, the position and strength of mesoscale eddies is well resolved by SWOT-mapped SLA fields as compared to nadir-altimeter mapped fields .