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REMOTE SENSING: Mesoscale Dynamics in Oceans

Satellite data are used for the research of meso-scale dynamic processes in the ocean and atmosphere. The ocean processes include long term variability of sea surface temperature, seasonal variability of sea level, dynamically active areas and meso-scale eddies, shear waves, estuarine plumes, coastal upwelling, solitary internal waves and internal tides. The atmospheric processes include the ENSO events, air-sea heat exchange, coastal lee waves, and solitary wave packets. Satellite data used include NOAA AVHRR SST data, TOPEX/POSEIDON altimeter data, satellite scatterometer vector winds, ERS-1/2 SAR and RADARSAT-1 SAR images, SeaWiFS and MODIS ocean color data. The imaging physics, data processing techniques, analytical methods, and algorithms for satellite data interpretation are also developed. Field observations are used to calibrate satellite data and to validate the theoretical models and interpretation algorithms.

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A true color SeaWiFS image taken on March 19, 1999. The ocean, in dark blue, is the northern South China Sea. Two groups of wave clouds in white arrayed on the two sides of the island are interpreted as signatures of upstream and downstream solitary wave-trains generated in the real atmosphere by topographic disturbances. The red line represents the wind direction at 850 mb.