Research SSS products with improved resolution

All ocean L4 products distributed by CP34 BEC are obtained by the application of singularity-based fusion. We will discuss this technique in greater detail in this blog when the paper presently under revision is available. So far, it suffices to comment that with this technique a template variable (Sea surface temperature, SST, in our case) of good quality is used to restore the multifractal structure of singularity fronts on a noisy variable (SSS in our case). To know more about the multifractal structure of ocean scalars please consult the 2009 Ocean Science paper.

Sequence of binned L3 SSS maps

The animation above represents the sequence of binned L3 SSS maps; each frame is a 10-day average, which a time lag of three days between the beginning of consecutive averaging periods. This map has a resolution of 1 degree X 1 degree, what is a rather coarse time and space resolution when phenomena like Tropical Instability Waves or the onset of a El Nino are sought. To make things worse, present levels of accuracy on SMOS products make even harder to characterize this large scale phenomena. This is a typical situation in which L4 products can come to rescue!

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Christmas, El Niño, and SMOS

Christmas is surely an appropriate moment to talk about the “El Niño / Southern Oscillation” (ENSO). Today there is no doubt that ENSO is the largest source of inter-annual climate variability at regional and planetary scales. Although its ocean-atmosphere coupled nature was postulated in 1969, the quasi-periodic oceanic and atmospheric anomalous behavior has been observed for centuries. For more than five hundred years, Peruvian fishermen and farmers have been aware that a periodic warm surface counter-current off the Peruvian Coast reduces the anchovy catch, while, at the same time, increased rainfalls transform barren lands onto fertile ones. This counter-current was termed as the current of the “El Niño” (the Child Jesus) because it usually appears around Christmas. On the other hand, several tens of thousands of kilometers to the west, over the Asian continent, other climate events also have a strong impact on society. For example, the failure of monsoons resulted in the Great Drought (1876-1877) that contributed to cause more than seven million deaths in the British-controlled India. Since then, various efforts were made to predict the interannual variability of the Indian monsoons. In 1904 Sir Gilbert Walker was appointed as the director-general of Observatories in India to lead such task. Although Walker was not aware of the El Niño current, he did know about the existence of synchronized interannual pressure fluctuations over the Indian Ocean and eastern tropical Pacific (fluctuations that Walker called the “Southern Oscillation”). His research team evidenced that monsoons are part of a global phenomenon, and that the Southern Oscillation is correlated with major changes in the rainfall patterns and wind vents over the tropical Pacific and Indian Oceans.

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