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The University of Southampton
Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute

Fine Scale Altimetry Seminar

3:00 - 4:00
14 November 2012
Henry Charnock Lecture Theatre National Oceanography Centre Southampton Visitors should check before travelling to attend the seminar.

For more information regarding this seminar, please telephone Aurelie Duchez and Gerard McCarthy on +44 (0) 23 80596175 .

Event details

Although radar altimeters have revolutionised oceanography over the last 20 years, one of their major drawbacks is that they only take measurements directly below the satellite. One response to this has been the design of wide swath altimeters. However, with the development of small inexpensive satellites, and since the instruments are relatively cheap, an alternative is to fly a constellation of small altimeter satellites.

In this talk, we describe a tool we are developing to help design altimeter constellations. Any number of satellites can be flown and the error characteristics of both the instruments and the geophysical corrections can be varied. For example, what would be the error structure of the sea surface when we give a constellation scenario of one day repeat orbit, an inclination of 80 degrees and four satellites in one plane? Another example uses a one day repeat orbit with an inclination of 80 degrees but employing 16 satellites evenly distributed over four orbital planes. There are two main modes used in this simulation to describe the ocean surface: statistical methods to describe the ocean; and synthetic sea surfaces supplied by the UK Met Office. We select four regions based on their different sea surface height properties. The first region is located within the Gulf Stream where there is high mesoscale activity (i.e. a strong signal). The second region is around the Azores representing low mesoscale activity, hence weak signal. The North Sea is the third region chosen because it is susceptible to storm surges. The final region is within the western Mediterranean Sea, a semi enclosed basin where strong mesoscale activity exists but the tides are small compared with the open ocean.

Speaker information

Andrew Shaw,Andrew is a member of the Ocean Observing and Climate Group and his research interests are related to sea Level variability at annual to decade scales; spatial and temporal variability of the Subtropical Front; teleconnections between global ocean variability and Climate Indices.

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