Airborne Remote Sensing of the Upper Ocean Turbulence during CASPER-East
Journal Article - Open Access
NAVAL RESEARCH LAB WASHINGTON DC WASHINGTON United States
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This study takes on the challenge of resolving upper ocean surface currents with a suite of airborne remote sensing methodologies, simultaneously imaging the ocean surface in visible, infrared, and microwave bands. A series of flights were conducted over an air-sea interaction supersite established 63 km offshore by a large multi-platform CASPER-East experiment. The supersite was equipped with a range of in situ instruments resolving air-sea interface and underwater properties, of which a bottom-mounted acoustic Doppler current profiler was used extensively in this paper for the purposes of airborne current retrieval validation and interpretation. A series of water-tracing dye releases took place in coordination with aircraft overpasses, enabling dye plume velocimetry over 100 m to 10 km spatial scales. Similar scales were resolved by a Multichannel Synthetic Aperture Radar, which resolved a swath of instantaneous surface velocities wave and current with 10 m resolution and 5 cms accuracy. Details of the skin temperature variability imprinted by the upper ocean turbulence were revealed in 1-14,000 m range of spatial scales by a mid-wave infrared camera. Combined, these methodologies provide a unique insight into the complex spatial structure of the upper ocean turbulence on a previously under-resolved range of spatial scales from meters to kilometers. However, much attention in this paper is dedicated to quantifying and understanding uncertainties and ambiguities associated with these remote sensing methodologies, especially regarding the smallest resolvable turbulent scales and reference depths of retrieved currents.
- Physical and Dynamic Oceanography