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Global Surface Currents and Heat Transport : A new product for investigating ocean dynamics

Joel Sudre(1) and Rosemary Morrow(1)

(1) LEGOS, 18 av. E. Belin, 31401 Toulouse Cedex 9, France


A global surface current and surface heat transport product is available at the Centre de Topography des Océans et de l’Hydrosphère (CTOH). The surface current field is calculated from a combination of geostrophic current anomalies from altimetry, Ekman currents at 15 m depth from Quickscat scatterometry and the mean geostrophic circulation from a climatological mean sea surface product. The velocity field in the equatorial band is determined using the equatorial adjustment described by Lagerloef et al. (1999). The surface current field is validated using the global SVP lagrangian drifter data set, and at specific locations using ADCP data. Different applications will be presented showing how this surface current product can be used for tracking water parcels, eddies, or marine life. These surface currents can also be combined with concurrent sea surface temperature (SST) data from the combined global microwave TMI/AMSR-E ¼° SST product available from the RSS group from 2002. A preliminary analysis shows how the combined product can be used to calculate heat transports and heat budgets, and investigate the relative roles of eddy heat transport, mean geostrophic heat transport and Ekman heat transport.


Full paper


                 Last modified: 07.10.03