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  • Author or Editor: Bertrand Chapron x
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Jean Tournadre
,
Bertrand Chapron
, and
Nicolas Reul

Abstract

This paper presents a new method to analyze high-resolution altimeter waveforms in terms of surface backscatter. Over the ocean, a basic assumption of modeling altimeter echo waveforms is to consider a homogeneous sea surface within the altimeter footprint that can be described by a mean backscatter coefficient. When the surface backscatter varies strongly at scales smaller than the altimeter footprint size, such as in the presence of surface slicks, rain, small islands, and altimeter echoes can be interpreted as high-resolution images of the surface whose geometry is annular and not rectangular. A method based on the computation of the imaging matrix and its pseudoinverse to infer the surface backscatter at high resolution (~300 m) from the measured waveforms is presented. The method is tested using synthetic waveforms for different surface backscatter fields and is shown to be unbiased and accurate. Several applications can be foreseen to refine the analysis of rain patterns, surface slicks, and lake surfaces. The authors choose here to focus on the small-scale variability of backscatter induced by a submerged reef smaller than the altimeter footprint as the function of tide, significant wave height, and wind.

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Ge Chen
,
Bertrand Chapron
,
Robert Ezraty
, and
Douglas Vandemark

Abstract

Numerous case reports and regional studies on swell and wind sea events have been documented during the past century. The global picture of these common oceanic phenomena, however, is still incomplete in many aspects. This paper presents a feasibility study of using collocated wind speed and significant wave height measurements from simultaneous satellite scatterometer and altimeter sources to observe the spatial and seasonal pattern of dominant swell and wind wave zones in the world's oceans. Two energy-related normalized indices are proposed, on the basis of which global statistics of swell/wind sea probabilities and intensities are obtained. It is found that three well-defined tongue-shaped zones of swell dominance, termed “swell pools,” are located in the eastern tropical areas of the Pacific, the Atlantic, and the Indian Oceans, respectively. Regions of intensive wave growth are observed in the northwest Pacific, the northwest Atlantic, the Southern Ocean, and the Mediterranean Sea. Seasonality is distinct for the climate of both swell and wind sea, notably the large-scale northward bending of the swell pools in boreal summer, and the dramatic shift of wave-growing extent from a summer low to an autumn high. The results of this study may serve as a useful reference for a variety of activities, such as ocean wave modeling, satellite algorithm validation, coastal engineering, and ship routing, when information on swell and wind sea conditions is needed.

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Douglas Vandemark
,
James B. Edson
, and
Bertrand Chapron

Abstract

Aircraft altimeter and in situ measurements are used to examine relationships between altimeter backscatter and the magnitude of near-surface wind and friction velocities. Comparison of altimeter radar cross section with wind speed is made through the modified Chelton–Wentz algorithm. Improved agreement is found after correcting 10-m winds for both surface current and atmospheric stability. An altimeter friction velocity algorithm is derived based on the wind speed model and an open-ocean drag coefficient. Close agreement between altimeter- and in situ–derived friction velocities is found. For this dataset, quality of the altimeter inversion to surface friction velocity is comparable to that for adjusted winds and clearly better than the inversion to true 10-m wind speed.

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Amanda M. Plagge
,
Douglas Vandemark
, and
Bertrand Chapron

Abstract

A 5-yr dataset collected over two surface current and meteorological moorings allows rigorous evaluation of questions surrounding wave–current interaction and the scatterometer. Results demonstrate that scatterometer winds represent winds relative to the moving sea surface, affirming previous observational efforts that inferred the phenomenon using climatological approaches over larger time and space scales in equatorial and western boundary currents. Comparisons of wind residuals between Ku-band Quick Scatterometer (QuikSCAT) and buoy measurements show nearly one-to-one correlations with ocean surface velocity for 5-, 12.5-, and 25-km resolution wind speed products, especially under conditions of moderate wind speed and near-neutral atmospheric stability. Scatterometer and buoy wind direction differences due to currents were observed to be negligible for the range of surface velocities encountered and the length scales observed by QuikSCAT. Similar analyses are applied to C-band Advanced Scatterometer (ASCAT) satellite wind measurements at the same sites, as well as to satellite altimeter winds, and overall confirm the results seen with QuikSCAT; differences are likely the combined result of sampling, satellite wind algorithms, and geophysical wind–wave coupling in the presence of currents. On the whole, this study affirms that at length scales of 10 km and longer the scatterometer wind can be considered to be current relative. Observed differences between earth-relative and current-relative winds of order 10%–20% of the wind velocity are not uncommon in this and other ocean regions and this study more fully validates that microwave remote sensing winds appear to respond to wind stress even in the presence of larger-scale currents.

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Yves Quilfen
,
Doug Vandemark
,
Bertrand Chapron
,
Hui Feng
, and
Joe Sienkiewicz

Abstract

A new model is provided for estimating maritime near-surface wind speeds (U 10) from satellite altimeter backscatter data during high wind conditions. The model is built using coincident satellite scatterometer and altimeter observations obtained from QuikSCAT and Jason satellite orbit crossovers in 2008 and 2009. The new wind measurements are linear with inverse radar backscatter levels, a result close to the earlier altimeter high wind speed model of Young (1993). By design, the model only applies for wind speeds above 18 m s−1. Above this level, standard altimeter wind speed algorithms are not reliable and typically underestimate the true value. Simple rules for applying the new model to the present-day suite of satellite altimeters (Jason-1, Jason-2, and Envisat RA-2) are provided, with a key objective being provision of enhanced data for near-real-time forecast and warning applications surrounding gale to hurricane force wind events. Model limitations and strengths are discussed and highlight the valuable 5-km spatial resolution sea state and wind speed altimeter information that can complement other data sources included in forecast guidance and air–sea interaction studies.

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Jérôme Gourrion
,
Tanguy Szekely
,
Rachel Killick
,
Breck Owens
,
Gilles Reverdin
, and
Bertrand Chapron

Abstract

Realistic ocean state prediction and its validation rely on the availability of high quality in situ observations. To detect data errors, adequate quality check procedures must be designed. This paper presents procedures that take advantage of the ever-growing observation databases that provide climatological knowledge of the ocean variability in the neighborhood of an observation location. Local validity intervals are used to estimate binarily whether the observed values are considered as good or erroneous. Whereas a classical approach estimates validity bounds from first- and second-order moments of the climatological parameter distribution, that is, mean and variance, this work proposes to infer them directly from minimum and maximum observed values. Such an approach avoids any assumption of the parameter distribution such as unimodality, symmetry around the mean, peakedness, or homogeneous distribution tail height relative to distribution peak. To reach adequate statistical robustness, an extensive manual quality control of the reference dataset is critical. Once the data have been quality checked, the local minima and maxima reference fields are derived and the method is compared with the classical mean/variance-based approach. Performance is assessed in terms of statistics of good and bad detections. It is shown that the present size of the reference datasets allows the parameter estimates to reach a satisfactory robustness level to always make the method more efficient than the classical one. As expected, insufficient robustness persists in areas with an especially low number of samples and high variability.

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Jamie D. Shutler
,
Peter E. Land
,
Jean-Francois Piolle
,
David K. Woolf
,
Lonneke Goddijn-Murphy
,
Frederic Paul
,
Fanny Girard-Ardhuin
,
Bertrand Chapron
, and
Craig J. Donlon

Abstract

The air–sea flux of greenhouse gases [e.g., carbon dioxide (CO2)] is a critical part of the climate system and a major factor in the biogeochemical development of the oceans. More accurate and higher-resolution calculations of these gas fluxes are required if researchers are to fully understand and predict future climate. Satellite Earth observation is able to provide large spatial-scale datasets that can be used to study gas fluxes. However, the large storage requirements needed to host such data can restrict its use by the scientific community. Fortunately, the development of cloud computing can provide a solution. This paper describes an open-source air–sea CO2 flux processing toolbox called the “FluxEngine,” designed for use on a cloud-computing infrastructure. The toolbox allows users to easily generate global and regional air–sea CO2 flux data from model, in situ, and Earth observation data, and its air–sea gas flux calculation is user configurable. Its current installation on the Nephalae Cloud allows users to easily exploit more than 8 TB of climate-quality Earth observation data for the derivation of gas fluxes. The resultant netCDF data output files contain >20 data layers containing the various stages of the flux calculation along with process indicator layers to aid interpretation of the data. This paper describes the toolbox design, which verifies the air–sea CO2 flux calculations; demonstrates the use of the tools for studying global and shelf sea air–sea fluxes; and describes future developments.

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