Finescale horizontal and vertical currents from in-situ observations in preparation for SWOT altimeter mission

Ananda Pascual1, Simon Ruiz1, Bàrbara Barceló-Llull2, Antonio Sanchez-Roman1, Evan Mason3, Eugenio Cutolo1, Daniel R Tarry1, Helena Antich1, Laura Gomez-Navarro1,4, Said Ouala5, Baptiste Mourre6, Yannice Faugere7, Ronan Fablet5, Joaquin Tintore1,8, Amala Mahadevan9 and Francesco d'Ovidio10, (1)IMEDEA(CSIC-UIB), Esporles, Spain, (2)Applied Physics Laboratory, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, United States, (3)Applied Physics Laboratory University of Washington, Seattle, United States, (4)Institut des Géosciences de l'Environnement, CNRS/Univ. Grenoble Alpes/G-INP/IRD, Grenoble, France, (5)IMT Atlantique, France, (6)Balearic Islands Coastal Observing and Forecasting System (SOCIB), Palma, Spain, (7)CLS Collecte Localisation Satellites, Ramonville Saint-Agne, France, (8)SOCIB, Palma, Spain, (9)Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, MA, United States, (10)LOCEAN, Paris, France
Horizontal and vertical motions associated with mesoscale (10-100 km) and submesoscale (1-10 km) features, such as fronts, meanders, eddies and filaments, play a critical role in the distribution of heat, fresh water and biogeochemical tracers in the ocean. Integrating our understanding of these processes to climate scales is one of the key challenges for earth observation.

In this presentation we review some of the results obtained from the synergy of in-situ (CTD, glider, Argo, XBT, ADCP, HF radar, drifters, etc.) and satellite observations (altimetry, SST and ocean color) with supporting numerical simulations during dedicated multi-platform field experiments in the western Mediterranean Sea aimed at estimating finescale horizontal and vertical currents.We conclude with the lessons learned in terms of advantages and limitations of the present approaches that combine satellite data with other cutting-edge and well established observational techniques and numerical modeling.

Future directions in preparation for SWOT are also addressed, including artificial intelligence and machine learning, and the need to observe and resolve a range of scales that will contribute to enhancing our understanding of finescale ocean currents associated with meso- and submesoscale features, with impacts on longer climatic scales.