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Discussion papers | Copyright
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Research article 26 Mar 2018

Research article | 26 Mar 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript is under review for the journal Ocean Science (OS).

Joint analysis of coastal altimetry and HF radar data: observability of seasonal and mesoscale ocean dynamics in the Bay of Biscay

Ivan Manso-Narvarte1, Ainhoa Caballero1, Anna Rubio1, Claire Dufau2, and Florence Birol3 Ivan Manso-Narvarte et al.
  • 1AZTI – Marine Research, Herrera Kaia, Portualdea z/g, 20110 Pasaia, Spain
  • 2CLS Space Oceanography Division, 8–10 Rue Hermès, 31526 Ramonville St. Agne, France
  • 3LEGOS, 14 Ave. E. Belin, 31400 Toulouse, France

Abstract. Coastal HF radar systems provide operational measurements of coastal surface currents with high spatial (~1–5km) and temporal (~hourly) sampling resolution while the near continuous altimetry missions afford, from 1993 to nowadays, information of geostrophic currents in the global ocean with typical along-track and temporal sampling resolutions of >7km and >9 days, respectively. During the last years, the altimetry community has made a step forward in improving these data in the coastal area, where the data present lower quality than in the open ocean. The combination of HF radar and altimetry measurements arises as a promising strategy to improve the continuous monitoring of the coastal area (e.g. by expanding the measurements made by HF radars to adjacent areas covered by the altimetry, or by validating/confirming improvements brought by specific coastal algorithms or new altimeter missions). A first step towards this combination is the comparison of both datasets in the overlapping areas.

In this study, a HF radar system and two Jason-2 satellite altimetry products with different processing (CTOH and CMEMS) are compared over the period from 1 January 2009 to 24 July 2015. The results provide an evaluation of the performance of different coastal altimetry datasets within the study area and a better understanding of the ocean variability contained in the HF radar and both altimetry data sets. The variability of the radar and altimetry measurements is higher near the coast, and both observing systems detect the Iberian Poleward Current and eddies, which are the main mesoscale processes within the study area. The highest correlations between radar and altimetry (up to 0.64) take place in the slope, where the Iberian Poleward Current represents a significant part of the mesoscale variability. Besides, the use of a simple Ekman model to add the wind-induced current component to the to the altimetry-derived geostrophic currents increases the agreement between both data sets (increasing the correlation in around 10%).

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Ivan Manso-Narvarte et al.
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Ivan Manso-Narvarte et al.
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Publications Copernicus
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Short summary
Our main aim is to compare two different measuring systems of the surface ocean currents: land-based high-frequency radar and satellite altimetry. Results show that the surface currents detected by both systems agree up to a 70 %, mostly in areas of persistent currents. This work is a first step in the combination of both technologies for an improved monitoring of the coastal surface ocean dynamics.
Our main aim is to compare two different measuring systems of the surface ocean currents:...