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Envisat making first direct measurements of ocean surface velocities

nnessen added. "By applying this combined Doppler and Radar Imaging Model technique DopRIM for short things are now looking much more promising."

This new analysis is still limited to surface velocity measurements in the line-of-sight of the radar instrument. But this new source of information already provides a useful complement to the standard roughness pattern analysis.

Initial tests have been carried out on tidal currents off Brest and Cherbourg in France, with simulations compared to SAR images of the same sites and tidal surface currents derived from the combined results. Impressive new views of the ocean from radar measurements are now available to open up new scientific investigations and applications.

The results so far were presented at SeaSAR 2006, which took place at ESRIN, ESA's European Centre for Earth Observation in Frascati, Italy, at the end of January. More than 100 researchers from 20 countries participated in the four-day workshop.

"More evaluations are certainly needed to consolidate and validate this DopRIM method," Johannessen said. "We believe however that the preliminary but promising results will open new opportunities for more systematic studies of mesoscale ocean variability based on SAR in the coming years. Provided the method is found to be reliable it will make a significant contribution to operational oceanography."

These measurements would be very useful for determination of surface drift, important for oil dispersion, wave-current interaction and pollution transport. The method could complement the use of additional information sources, such as 3-D ocean models, atmospheric forcing fields and in-situ devices such as high-frequency radar stations, as well as differing satellite sensors, wavelength and polarisation characteristics.

This includes future experimental SAR satellites, such as TerraSAR-X and Cosmo-Skymed, planned to join the currently operating Envisat, ERS-2, Canada
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Contact: Mariangela D'Acunto
mariangela.dacunto@esa.int
39-069-418-0856
European Space Agency
27-Mar-2006


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