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Ocean Science An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Research article
31 Jul 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Ocean Science (OS).
Measuring currents, ice drift, and waves from space: the Sea Surface KInematics Multiscale monitoring (SKIM) concept
Fabrice Ardhuin1, Yevgueny Aksenov2, Alvise Benetazzo3, Laurent Bertino4, Peter Brandt5, Eric Caubet6, Bertrand Chapron1, Fabrice Collard7, Sophie Cravatte8, Frederic Dias9, Gérald Dibarboure10, Lucile Gaultier7, Johhny Johannessen4, Anton Korosov4, Georgy Manucharyan11, Dimitris Menemenlis12, Melisa Menendez13, Goulven Monnier14, Alexis Mouche1, Frédéric Nouguier1, George Nurser2, Pierre Rampal4, Ad Reniers15, Ernesto Rodriguez12, Justin Stopa1, Céline Tison10, Marion Tissier15, Clément Ubelmann16, Erik van Sebille17, Jérôme Vialard18, and Jiping Xie4 1Laboratoire d’Océanographie Physique et Spatiale (LOPS), Univ. Brest, CNRS, Ifremer, IRD, Brest, France
2National Oceaongraphic Center, Southampton SO14 3ZH, UK
3Institute of Marine Sciences, National Research Council (ISMAR-CNR), Venice, Italy
4Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Center, Bergen, Norway
5GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, Kiel, Germany
6Thales Alenia Space, Toulouse, France
7OceanDataLab, Locmaria Plouzané, France
8LEGOS, Université de Toulouse, CNES, CNRS, IRD, Toulouse, France
9University College, Dublin, Ireland
10CNES, Toulouse, France
11Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena
12Earth Sciences Division, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California
13Environmental Hydraulics Institute “IH Cantabria” Universidad de Cantabria, Santander, Spain
14SCALIAN ALYOTECH, Rennes, France
15Department of Hydraulic Engineering, Delft University of Technology, Delft, Netherlands
16CLS, Toulouse, France
17Utrecht University, The Netherlands
18Sorbonne Universités (UPMC, Univ Paris 06)-CNRS-IRD-MNHN, LOCEAN Laboratory, IPSL, Paris, France
Abstract. We propose a new satellite mission that uses a near-nadir Ka-band Doppler radar to measure surface currents, ice drift and ocean waves at spatial scales of 40 km and more, with snapshots at least every day for latitudes 75 to 82, and every few days otherwise. The use of incidence angles at 6 and 12 degrees allows a measurement of the directional wave spectrum which yields accurate corrections of the wave-induced bias in the current measurements. The instrument principle, algorithm for current velocity and mission performance are presented here. The proposed instrument can reveal features on tropical ocean and marginal ice zone dynamics that are inaccessible to other measurement systems, as well as a global monitoring of the ocean mesoscale that surpasses the capability of today’s nadir altimeters. Measuring ocean wave properties facilitates many applications, from wave-current interactions and air-sea fluxes to the transport and convergence of marine plastic debris and assessment of marine and coastal hazards.

Citation: Ardhuin, F., Aksenov, Y., Benetazzo, A., Bertino, L., Brandt, P., Caubet, E., Chapron, B., Collard, F., Cravatte, S., Dias, F., Dibarboure, G., Gaultier, L., Johannessen, J., Korosov, A., Manucharyan, G., Menemenlis, D., Menendez, M., Monnier, G., Mouche, A., Nouguier, F., Nurser, G., Rampal, P., Reniers, A., Rodriguez, E., Stopa, J., Tison, C., Tissier, M., Ubelmann, C., van Sebille, E., Vialard, J., and Xie, J.: Measuring currents, ice drift, and waves from space: the Sea Surface KInematics Multiscale monitoring (SKIM) concept, Ocean Sci. Discuss.,, in review, 2017.
Fabrice Ardhuin et al.
Fabrice Ardhuin et al.
Fabrice Ardhuin et al.


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Short summary
The Sea surface KInematics Multiscale (SKIM) monitoring mission is a proposal for a future satellite that is designed to measure ocean currents and waves. Using a Doppler radar, the accurate measurement of currents requires the removal of the mean velocity due to ocean wave motions. This paper describes the main processing steps needed to produce currents and wave data from the radar measurements. With this technique, SKIM can provide unprecedented coverage and resolution, over the global ocean.
The Sea surface KInematics Multiscale (SKIM) monitoring mission is a proposal for a future...