A Japanese New Altimetry Mission, COMPIRA – Towards High Temporal and Spatial Sampling of Sea Surface Height Measurement

Wednesday, 17 December 2014: 5:00 PM
Norimasa Ito1, Akihisa Uematsu2, Yukie Yajima2 and Osamu Isoguchi3, (1)JAXA Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, Sagamihara, Japan, (2)JAXA Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, Tsukuba, Japan, (3)RESTEC Remote Sensing Technology Center of Japan, Tsukuba, Japan
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is working on a conceptual study of altimeter mission named Coastal and Ocean measurement Mission with Precise and Innovative Radar Altimeter (COMPIRA), which will carry a wide-swath altimeter named Synthetic aperture radar (SAR) Height Imaging Oceanic Sensor with Advanced Interferometry (SHIOSAI). Capturing meso/submeso-scale phenomena is one of important objectives of the COMPIRA mission, as well as operational oceanography and fishery. For operational oceanography including coastal forecast, swath of SHIOSAI is selected to be 80 km in left and right sides to maximize temporal and spatial sampling of the sea surface height. Orbit specifications are also designed to be better sampling especially for mid-latitude region. That is, a spatial grid sampling is 5 km and an observation times per revisit period (about 10 days) is 2 to 3 times. In order to meet both sampling frequency and spatial coverage requirements as much as possible, orbit inclination was set relatively low, 51 degrees. Although this sampling frequency is, of course, not enough high to capture time evolution of coastal phenomena, an assimilation process would compensate its time evolution if 2D SSH fields was observed at least once within decal time scale of phenomena.

JAXA has launched a framework called “Coastal forecast core team” to aim at developing coastal forecast system through pre-launch activities toward COMPIRA. Assimilation segment as well as satellite and in situ data provision will play an important role on these activities. As a first step, we evaluated effects of ocean current forecast improvement with COMPIRA-simulated wide-swath and high sampling sea surface heights (SSH) data. Simulated SSH data are generated from regional ocean numerical models and the COMPIRA orbit and error specifications. Then, identical twin experiments are conducted to investigate the effect of wide-swath SSH measurements on coastal forecast in the Tohoku Pacific coast region. The experiment shows that simulated sea surface current using COMPIRA data as an input data for assimilation well represents vortical feature, which cannot be reproduced by conventional nadir altimeters.