Combined Exact-Repeat and Geodetic Mission Altimetry for High-Resolution Empirical Tide Mapping

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Edward D Zaron, Portland State University, Portland, OR, United States
The configuration of present and historical exact-repeat mission (ERM) altimeter ground tracks determines the maximum resolution of empirical tidal maps obtained with ERM data. Although the mode-1 baroclinic tide is resolvable at mid-latitudes in the open ocean, the ability to detect baroclinic and barotropic tides near islands and complex coastlines is limited, in part, by ERM track density. In order to obtain higher resolution maps, the possibility of combining ERM and geodetic mission (GM) altimetry is considered, using a combination of spatial thin-plate splines and temporal harmonic analysis. Given the present spatial and temporal distribution of GM missions, it is found that GM data can contribute to resolving tidal features smaller than 75 km, provided the signal amplitude is greater than about 1 cm. Uncertainties in the mean sea surface and environmental corrections are significant components of the GM error budget, and methods to optimize data selection and along-track filtering are still being optimized. Application to two regions, Monterey Bay and Luzon Strait, finds evidence for complex tidal fields in agreement with independent observations and modeling studies.