Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/os-2021-108
https://doi.org/10.5194/os-2021-108

  16 Nov 2021

16 Nov 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal OS.

Contribution of a constellation of two Wide-Swath Altimetry Missions to Global Ocean Analysis and Forecasting

Mounir Benkiran1, Pierre-Yves Le Traon1,2, and Gérald Dibarboure3 Mounir Benkiran et al.
  • 1Mercator-Ocean International, 31400 Toulouse, France
  • 2Ifremer, 29280 Plouzané, France
  • 3Centre National d’Études Spatiales, 31400 Toulouse, France

Abstract. Swath altimetry is likely to revolutionize our ability to monitor and forecast ocean dynamics. To meet the requirements of the EU Copernicus Marine Service, a constellation of two wide-swath altimeters is envisioned for the long-term (post-2030) evolution of the Copernicus Sentinel 3 topography mission. A series of Observing System Simulation Experiments is carried out to quantify the expected performances. The OSSEs use a state-of-the-art high resolution (1/12°) global ocean data assimilation system similar to the one used operationally by the Copernicus Marine Service. Flying a constellation of two wide-swath altimeters will provide a major improvement of our capabilities to monitor and forecast the oceans. Compared to the present situation with 3 nadir altimeters flying simultaneously, the Sea Surface Height analysis and 7-day forecast error will be globally reduced by about 50 %. With two wide-swath altimeters, the quality of Sea Surface Height 7-day forecasts is equivalent to the quality of SSH analysis errors from three nadir altimeters. Our understanding of ocean currents is also greatly improved (30 % improvements at the surface and 50 % at 300 m depth). The resolution capabilities will be drastically improved and will be closer to 100 km wavelength compared to about 250 km today. Flying a constellation of two wide-swath altimeters thus looks to be a very promising solution for the long-term evolution of the Sentinel 3 constellation and the Copernicus Marine Service.

Mounir Benkiran et al.

Status: open (until 11 Jan 2022)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse

Mounir Benkiran et al.

Mounir Benkiran et al.

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Short summary
The SSH analysis and 7-day forecast error will be globally reduced by almost 50 %. Surface current forecast errors should be equivalent to today’s surface current analysis errors or alternatively will be improved (variance error reduction) by 30 % at the surface and 50 % for 300 m depths The resolution capabilities will be drastically improved and will be closer to 100 km wavelength as opposed to today where they are above 250 km (on average).