Altimeter Wave and Wind data for Mariners and Scientific Community
Zorana Jelenak describes how altimeters work, how data is used for everyday marine forecasting at NOAA and assimilation.
Length: 60 min
Author: Zorana Jelenak (NOAA)
Altimeter data have been used to produce maps of sea surface height, geostrophic velocity, significant wave height and wind speed. This information is of proven use to mariners as well as to the scientific community. Uses of the data include commercial and recreational vessel routing, ocean acoustics, input to geographic information systems developed for the fishing industry, identification of marine mammal habitats, fisheries management and monitoring ocean debris. Such information is accessible in near-real time (within 3 to 48 hours) and to improve weather forecasting models by assimilation. 25 years of data makes it possible to study the whole ocean or regional areas for offshore industries or navigation. In hurricane studies altimetry measures very high waves and strong winds, but also helps identify sea surface height anomalies which can be used as proxies of the warm currents - hurricanes energy source. The lecture will describe how altimeters work, how data is used for everyday marine forecasting at NOAA and assimilation, devoteting special attention to data accuracy and limitations.