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Project Reference


Title Mediterranean GOCE Geoid and geostrophic Circulation

Thematic Area Ocean


Action Line The Changing Earth Science Network

Status In Progress

Missions GOCE, SMOS, CryoSat-2

Project Description


An accurate knowledge of the oceanic circulation is fundamental to understand the main characteristics of the oceans and their dynamics. In this framework the reconstruction of the Mean Sea Surface (MSS) of the ocean from altimetry and the increasing knowledge of the geoid are producing nowadays a great advancement of our knowledge of oceanic circulation, particularly for the geostrophic component. However, when we focus on enclosed seas, both factors become more critical: altimetric arcs are shorter and coastal effects are stronger, the gravimetric data used for the geoid computation might be inhomogeneous from the spatial and quality point of view.

Principal targets of the project are the study and the development of a procedure to estimate optimal geoids in local areas and high resolution mean dynamic topographies (MDTs) with a focus on the application of the studied methodologies to investigate the circulation in the Mediterranean Sea. This is certainly a complicated test area characterized by a strong variability which requires the knowledge of a geoid with extremely high resolution and accuracy. To achieve these results, existing gravitational data (local geoids, ground and ship-borne gravitational observations), in conjunction with GOCE-GRACE gravity models and data are considered.

The best MSS based on all altimetric data is defined in comparison with the computed local geoids and independent existing current velocity estimates. The chosen MSS is used to determine the MDT, the corresponding currents, the implicit mass and heat transport. Moreover, an attempt to estimate the salt transport in the Mediterranean Sea with the aid of SMOS data will be studied as well.

Project Consortium

Project Partners PdM : Politecnico di Milano- Polo Territoriale di Como(CESN Host Institition)

Contact Points

Project Manager Dr. Maddalena Gilardoni,
Politecnico di Milano - Polo Territoriale di Como,
Via Valleggio 11,
22100 Como,
Tel: 0039-0313327537,

Technical Officer


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