Journal cover Journal topic
Nonlinear Processes in Geophysics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
doi:10.5194/npg-2017-14
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Review article
09 Mar 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is under review for the journal Nonlinear Processes in Geophysics (NPG).
Retrieval and assimilation of velocities at the ocean surface
Jordi Isern-Fontanet1,2, Joaquim Ballabrera-Poy1, Antonio Turiel1,2, and Emilio García-Ladona1 1Institut de Ciències del Mar (CSIC), Passeig Marítim de la Barceloneta 37-49 08003 Barcelona, Spain
2Barcelona Expert Center in Remote Sensing (CSIC), Passeig Marítim de la Barceloneta 37-49 08003 Barcelona, Spain
Abstract. Ocean currents play a key role in Earth’s climate, they are of major importance for navigation and human activities at sea, and impact almost all processes that take place in the ocean. Nevertheless, their observation and forecasting are still difficult. First, direct measurements of ocean currents are difficult to obtain synoptically at global scale. Consequently, it has been necessary to use Sea Surface Height and Sea Surface Temperature measurements and refer to dynamical frameworks to derive the velocity field. Second, the assimilation of the velocity field into numerical models of ocean circulation is difficult mainly due to lack of data. Recent experiments assimilating coastal-based radar data have shown that ocean currents will contribute to increase the forecast skill of surface currents, but require to be applied in multi-data assimilation approaches to allow better identification of the thermohaline structure of the ocean. In this paper we review the current knowledge on these fields and provide global and systematic view on the technologies to retrieve ocean velocities in the upper ocean and the available approaches to assimilate this information into ocean model.

Citation: Isern-Fontanet, J., Ballabrera-Poy, J., Turiel, A., and García-Ladona, E.: Retrieval and assimilation of velocities at the ocean surface, Nonlin. Processes Geophys. Discuss., doi:10.5194/npg-2017-14, in review, 2017.
Jordi Isern-Fontanet et al.
Jordi Isern-Fontanet et al.
Jordi Isern-Fontanet et al.

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Short summary
Ocean currents play a key role in Earth’s climate, they are of major importance for navigation and human activities at sea, and impact almost all processes that take place in the ocean. Nevertheless, their observation and forecasting are still difficult. Here, we review the main techniques used to derive surface currents from satellite measurements and the existing approaches to assimilate this information into ocean models.
Ocean currents play a key role in Earth’s climate, they are of major importance for navigation...
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