SKIM, a Candidate Satellite Mission Exploring Global Ocean Currents and Waves

Type Article
Date 2019-04
Language English
Author(s) Ardhuin FabriceORCID1, Brandt Peter2, 3, Gaultier Lucile4, Donlon Craig5, Battaglia Alessandro6, Boy François7, Casal Tania5, Chapron Bertrand20, Collard Fabrice4, Cravatte Sophie8, Delouis Jean Marc1, De Witte Erik5, Dibarboure Gerald7, Engen Geir9, Johnsen Harald9, Lique Camille20, Lopez-Dekker Paco10, Maes Christophe21, Martin Adrien11, Marié Louis20, Menemenlis Dimitris12, Nouguier Frederic20, Peureux Charles1, Rampal Pierre13, Ressler Gerhard5, Rio Marie-Helene14, Rommen Bjorn1, Shutler Jamie D.15, Suess Martin5, Tsamados Michel16, Ubelmann Clement17, Van Sebille Erik18, Van Den Oever Martin6, Stammer Detlef19
Affiliation(s) 1 : Univ. Brest, CNRS, IRD, Ifremer, Laboratoire d'Océanographie Physique et Spatiale (LOPS), IUEM, Brest, France
2 : GEOMAR Helmholtz-Zentrum für Ozeanforschung Kiel, Kiel, Germany
3 : Kiel University, Kiel, Germany
4 : OceanDataLab, Brest, France
5 : European Space Agency, Noordwijk, Netherlands
6 : National Centre for Earth Observation, University of Leicester, Leicester, United Kingdom
7 : Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales, Toulouse, France
8 : LEGOS, University of Toulouse, CNES, CNRS, IRD, UPS, Toulouse, France
9 : Norut Information Technology Ltd., Tromsø, Norway
10 : Geoscience and Remote Sensing Department, Delft University of Technology, Delft, Netherlands
11 : National Oceanography Center, Southampton, United Kingdom
12 : Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, United States
13 : Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Center, Bergen, Norway
14 : European Space Agency, Frascati, Italy
15 : Center for Geography and Environmental Science, University of Exeter, Exeter, United Kingdom
16 : Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling, Earth Sciences, University College London, London, United Kingdom
17 : Collecte Localisation Satellites, Ramonville Saint Agne, France
18 : Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research, Utrecht University, Utrecht, Netherlands
19 : Centrum für Erdsystemforschung und Nachhaltigkeit, Universität Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
Source Frontiers In Marine Science (2296-7745) (Frontiers Media SA), 2019-04 , Vol. 6 , N. 209 , P. 8p.
DOI 10.3389/fmars.2019.00209
Keyword(s) ocean current, tropics, Arctic, Doppler, altimetry, sea state, remote sensing, ocean waves

The Sea surface KInematics Multiscale monitoring (SKIM) satellite mission is designed to explore ocean surface current and waves. This includes tropical currents, notably the poorly known patterns of divergence and their impact on the ocean heat budget, and monitoring of the emerging Arctic up to 82.5°N. SKIM will also make unprecedented direct measurements of strong currents, from boundary currents to the Antarctic circumpolar current, and their interaction with ocean waves with expected impacts on air-sea fluxes and extreme waves. For the first time, SKIM will directly measure the ocean surface current vector from space. The main instrument on SKIM is a Ka-band conically scanning, multi-beam Doppler radar altimeter/wave scatterometer that includes a state-of-the-art nadir beam comparable to the Poseidon-4 instrument on Sentinel 6. The well proven Doppler pulse-pair technique will give a surface drift velocity representative of the top meter of the ocean, after subtracting a large wave-induced contribution. Horizontal velocity components will be obtained with an accuracy better than 7 cm/s for horizontal wavelengths larger than 80 km and time resolutions larger than 15 days, with a mean revisit time of 4 days for of 99% of the global oceans. This will provide unique and innovative measurements that will further our understanding of the transports in the upper ocean layer, permanently distributing heat, carbon, plankton, and plastics. SKIM will also benefit from co-located measurements of water vapor, rain rate, sea ice concentration, and wind vectors provided by the European operational satellite MetOp-SG(B), allowing many joint analyses. SKIM is one of the two candidate satellite missions under development for ESA Earth Explorer 9. The other candidate is the Far infrared Radiation Understanding and Monitoring (FORUM). The final selection will be announced by September 2019, for a launch in the coming decade.

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Ardhuin Fabrice, Brandt Peter, Gaultier Lucile, Donlon Craig, Battaglia Alessandro, Boy François, Casal Tania, Chapron Bertrand, Collard Fabrice, Cravatte Sophie, Delouis Jean Marc, De Witte Erik, Dibarboure Gerald, Engen Geir, Johnsen Harald, Lique Camille, Lopez-Dekker Paco, Maes Christophe, Martin Adrien, Marié Louis, Menemenlis Dimitris, Nouguier Frederic, Peureux Charles, Rampal Pierre, Ressler Gerhard, Rio Marie-Helene, Rommen Bjorn, Shutler Jamie D., Suess Martin, Tsamados Michel, Ubelmann Clement, Van Sebille Erik, Van Den Oever Martin, Stammer Detlef (2019). SKIM, a Candidate Satellite Mission Exploring Global Ocean Currents and Waves. Frontiers In Marine Science, 6(209), 8p. Publisher's official version : , Open Access version :