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Synergy between Envisat satellite altimetry and glider data: case study in the Balearic Sea

AuthorsPascual, Ananda ; Bouffard, Jérôme ; Ruiz, Simón ; Garau, Bartolomé ; Faugère, Yannice; Tintoré, Joaquín
Issue Date2011
AbstractDynamics along the continental slopes are difficult to observe given the wide spectrum of temporal and spatial variability of physical processes which occur. Studying such complex dynamics requires the development of synergic approaches through the combined use of integrated observing systems. Thus, it is necessary to process and validate multi-sensor datasets especially dedicated to coastal ocean studies. This implies to fully understand their physical content in order to really assess their potential complementarities. In this context, we present the results of an intensive observational program conducted in the Balearic Sea combining coastal gliders and altimetry data from Envisat RA-2. The objectives of this experiment are 1) to investigate the limitations and potential improvements of different altimetric datasets in the coastal area, 2) to develop new methods to understand and increase the glider-altimetry synergy and 3) to test the feasibility of new technologies to study coastal dynamics. In the period comprised between July 2007 and June 2008, 4 glider missions have been performed in the Balearic Sea, collecting full CTD casts from the surface down to 180 m with a horizontal resolution of 500 m. The missions have been programmed to be simultaneous to the satellite passage along a selected Envisat tracks. Dynamic height and geostrophic velocity with a reference level of 180 m have been computed from the glider CTD data. New methodologies have been developed to compute consistent altimetric and glider velocities. On one hand, a novel technique has been applied to estimate absolute glider velocities by combining surface glider geostrophic velocities (ref. level 180 m) with integrated currents estimated by the glider (GPS locations every 6 hours), a complementary and relevant variable not fully exploited in other recent studies. On the other hand, the altimetric velocity computation has been improved, especially in coastal zone, by using high frequency along track sampling associated with new filtering and editing techniques. The approach used in this study proves to be very efficient for (1) homogenizing the physical contents of altimetry and glider data, (2) providing interesting insights of the present limitations and possible future improvements of coastal altimetry and (3) characterizing coastal dynamics in the Balearic Sea through a combined analysis of high resolution observing systems.
Appears in Collections:(IMEDEA) Comunicaciones congresos
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