Submesoscale Eddies and Internal Waves: the role of satellite remote sensing in their observation
Satellite remote sensing plays an increasing role in observing and monitoring upper ocean dynamics. In particular, small scale and submesoscale processes (order 1 – 10s of km) have been increasingly studied in recent years, and benefit from satellite observations at high resolutions. In this seminar we present examples of how satellite data can contribute to measurements of submesoscale currents and aid the interpretation of near surface dynamics. Emphasis is given to Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) image data and SAR altimetry, which can efficiently be used to investigate Internal Solitary Wave (ISW) generation and submesoscale cyclonic spiraling eddies. The strengths (e.g. detailed geometric features) and limitations (e.g. reduced temporal resolution) of such available satellite data are discussed, and progress expected from future satellite missions (such as NASA/CNES SWOT altimeter) are briefly addressed. Synergy of observations and numerical simulations of ISWs with the MITgcm in fully nonlinear and nonhydrostatic mode (in a 2D configuration, with realistic stratification and bathymetry) are presented. We also document interaction of ISW trains with mesoscale and submesoscale eddies, illustrated with remote sensing data.