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Project Reference


Title Synergies for Studies of Mesoscale and Sub-mesoscale Dynamics

Thematic Area Ocean


Action Line

Status Completed in 2012

Missions ENVISAT


Project Description


The global aim of this study is to define whether the upper ocean dynamics can be quantitatively inferred from the combined use of various remotely sensed data. The sea surface variability is the visible part of the inner ocean dynamics and it reveals the complex phenomena occurring in the deeper layers of the ocean. A better understanding of these surface signatures would lead to a better interpretation of the three dimensional features of the ocean dynamics and its coupling with the surface.

Nowadays, sea surface variability is well observed at different scales and it has been shown that the smallest ones strongly contribute to important physical and bio-geochemical phenomena (eg: upwelling of nutrients and their offshore transfer). Because of this, mesoscale and sub-mesoscale variability of the sea surface and its specific signatures on the remote sensed data is of major interest. The measured electromagnetic backscattered signal is directly dependent on sea surface characteristics such as the local roughness, temperature, colour or salinity. It is crucial to understand the close relation between the variation of these parameters and the ocean surface phenomena (wind, currents, eddies, convergence/divergence areas, presence of nutrients, among others).

For this purpose, the objectives of the MESO3D project are to clearly define the sensors sensitivity to the joint variations of the parameters which affect the surface characteristics, and to take benefit from the systematic joint analysis of the collocated remotely sensed data for ocean dynamics interpretation. Basically, the analysis will take advantage of the availability of a large number of Envisat MERIS (optical) and ASAR (radar) collocated acquisitions which were recently revealed as complementary observations. Sun glitter areas, which contain valuable information about the sea surface statistics, will be of particular interest.

Project Consortium

Project Partners IFREMER : Institut Francais pour la Recherche et l'Exploitation de la MER(CESN Host Institition)

Contact Points

Project Manager Dr. Frédéric Nouguier
Laboratoire d’Océanographie Spatiale - IFREMER
Centre de Brest, 29280 Plouzané,
Tel: +33 (0)2 29 00 85 23

Technical Officer


Useful Information

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