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by zopeadm — last modified Jan 05, 2011 01:53 PM

Global Surface Currents: A high-resolution product for investigating ocean dynamics,

Sudre J. and Morrow R.,

Ocean Dynamics, 10.1007/s10236-008-0134-9.



A global 1/4° resolution product of surface currents has been developed by the Centre de Topographie des Océans et de l’Hydrosphère. The surface current is calculated from a combination of Ekman currents derived from wind estimates from QuikSCAT satellite, geostrophic current anomalies derived from altimetry, and a mean geostrophic current derived from climatology. In the equatorial band, the currents are adjusted following the methodology proposed by Lagerloef et al. (J Geophys Res, 104(C10):22313-22326, 1999). These satellite-derived currents have been compared to different types of in situ current observations. A global validation is performed using Lagrangian surface drifting buoys and acoustic Doppler current profiler current observations along ship tracks. The comparison shows a very good agreement in the subtropical and mid-latitude bands. The correlation between the satellite-derived currents and the drifter currents in zonal mean bands is around 0.7 for most of the world oceans, both for the zonal and the meridional components. This correlation rises up to 0.8 in the regions of strong boundary currents. In the equatorial band, the correlation with the surface drifting buoys is reduced. A direct comparison with the TOGA/TAO moored current meter data at the equator shows that the low frequency currents are captured by the satellite current product, but there is a substantial high-frequency signal (<20 days), which is not reproduced. This is especially the case for the meridional component and is mainly related to the tropical instability waves. We also show that using daily QuikSCAT wind forcing improves the satellite current product, particularly in the high-latitude westerly wind belt and in the tropical Indian Ocean.



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