SEASTAR: A Mission to Study Ocean Submesoscale Dynamics and Small-Scale Atmosphere-Ocean Processes in Coastal, Shelf and Polar Seas

Christine Gommenginger*, Bertrand Chapron, Andy Hogg, Christian Buckingham, Baylor Fox-Kemper, Leif Eriksson, Francois Soulat, Clément Ubelmann, Francisco Ocampo-Torres, Bruno Buongiorno Nardelli, David Griffin, Paco Lopez-Dekker, Per Knudsen, Ole Andersen, Lars Stenseng, Neil Stapleton, William Perrie, Nelson Violante-Carvalho, Johannes Schulz-Stellenfleth, David WoolfJordi Isern-Fontanet, Fabrice Ardhuin, Patrice Klein, Alexis Mouche, Ananda Pascual, Xavier Capet, Daniele Hauser, Ad Stoffelen, Rosemary Morrow, Lotfi Aouf, Øyvind Breivik, Lee-Lueng Fu, Johnny A. Johannessen, Yevgeny Aksenov, Lucy Bricheno, Joel Hirschi, Adrien C. H. Martin, Adrian P. Martin, George Nurser, Jeff Polton, Judith Wolf, Harald Johnsen, Alexander Soloviev, Gregg A. Jacobs, Fabrice Collard, Steve Groom, Vladimir Kudryavtsev, John Wilkin, Victor Navarro, Alex Babanin, Matthew Martin, John Siddorn, Andrew Saulter, Tom Rippeth, Bill Emery, Nikolai Maximenko, Roland Romeiser, Hans Graber, Aida Alvera Azcarate, Chris W. Hughes, Doug Vandemark, Jose da Silva, Peter Jan Van Leeuwen, Alberto Naveira-Garabato, Johannes Gemmrich, Amala Mahadevan, Jose Marquez, Yvonne Munro, Sam Doody, Geoff Burbidge

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

127 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

High-resolution satellite images of ocean color and sea surface temperature reveal an abundance of ocean fronts, vortices and filaments at scales below 10 km but measurements of ocean surface dynamics at these scales are rare. There is increasing recognition of the role played by small scale ocean processes in ocean-atmosphere coupling, upper-ocean mixing and ocean vertical transports, with advanced numerical models and in situ observations highlighting fundamental changes in dynamics when scales reach 1 km. Numerous scientific publications highlight the global impact of small oceanic scales on marine ecosystems, operational forecasts and long-term climate projections through strong ageostrophic circulations, large vertical ocean velocities and mixed layer re-stratification. Small-scale processes particularly dominate in coastal, shelf and polar seas where they mediate important exchanges between land, ocean, atmosphere and the cryosphere e.g. freshwater, pollutants. As numerical models continue to evolve towards finer spatial resolution and increasingly complex coupled atmosphere-wave-ice-ocean systems, modern observing capability lags behind, unable to deliver the high-resolution synoptic measurements of total currents, wind vectors and waves needed to advance understanding, develop better parameterizations and improve model validations, forecasts and projections. SEASTAR is a satellite mission concept that proposes to directly address this critical observational gap with synoptic two-dimensional imaging of total ocean surface current vectors and wind vectors at 1 km resolution and coincident directional wave spectra. Based on major recent advances in squinted along-track Synthetic Aperture Radar interferometry, SEASTAR is an innovative, mature concept with unique demonstrated capabilities, seeking to proceed towards spaceborne implementation within Europe and beyond.
Original languageEnglish
Article number457
JournalFrontiers in Marine Science
Volume6
Number of pages7
ISSN2296-7745
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

Keywords

  • Satellite
  • Air sea interactions
  • Upper ocean dynamics
  • Submesoscale
  • Coastal
  • Marginal ice zone
  • Radar
  • Along-track interferometry

Cite this

Gommenginger, C., Chapron, B., Hogg, A., Buckingham, C., Fox-Kemper, B., Eriksson, L., Soulat, F., Ubelmann, C., Ocampo-Torres, F., Nardelli, B. B., Griffin, D., Lopez-Dekker, P., Knudsen, P., Andersen, O., Stenseng, L., Stapleton, N., Perrie, W., Violante-Carvalho, N., Schulz-Stellenfleth, J., ... Burbidge, G. (2019). SEASTAR: A Mission to Study Ocean Submesoscale Dynamics and Small-Scale Atmosphere-Ocean Processes in Coastal, Shelf and Polar Seas. Frontiers in Marine Science, 6, [457]. https://doi.org/10.3389/fmars.2019.00457