AbstractThe wavenumber spectrum of sea surface height (SSH) is an important indicator of the dynamics of the ocean interior. While it has been well-studied at mesoscale wavelengths and longer, using both in-situ oceanographic measurements and satellite altimetry, the SSH wavenumber spectrum remains largely unknown for wavelengths less than ~70km. The Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) satellite mission aims to resolve the SSH wavenumber spectrum at 15-150km wavelengths, which is specified as one of the mission requirements. The mission calibration and validation (CalVal) requires the ground-truth of a synoptic SSH field resolving the targeted wavelengths, but no existing observational network is able to fulfill the task. We use a high-resolution global ocean simulation to conduct an Observing System Simulation Experiment (OSSE) to identify the suitable oceanographic in-situ measurements for SWOT SSH-CalVal. After fixing 20 measuring locations (the minimum number for resolving 15-150km wavelengths) along the SWOT swath, we have tested four instrument platforms: Pressure-Inverted-Echo-Sounder (PIES), Underway-Conductivity-Temperature-Depth (UCTD), instrumented mooring, and underwater glider. In the context of the OSSE, we found that for the target region and for SSH scales 15-70km, the PIES was an unsuitable tool; the slowness of a single-UCTD leads to significant aliasing by high-frequency motions at short wavelengths below ~30 km; an array of station-keeping gliders can potentially meet the requirement; and an array of moorings is the most effective system among the four tested instruments in meeting the mission’s requirement. Results shown here warrant a prelaunch field campaign to further test the performance of station-keeping gliders.
Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology – American Meteorological Society
Published: Dec 26, 2017
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