SEASTAR: A Mission to Study Ocean Submesoscale Dynamics and Small-Scale Atmosphere-Ocean Processes in Coastal, Shelf and Polar Seas

High-resolution satellite images of ocean color and sea surface temperature reveal an abundance of ocean fronts, vortices and filaments at scales below 10 km but measurements of ocean surface dynamics at these scales are rare. There is increasing recognition of the role played by small scale ocean processes in ocean-atmosphere coupling, upper-ocean mixing and ocean vertical transports, with advanced numerical models and in situ observations highlighting fundamental changes in dynamics when scales reach 1 km. Numerous scientific publications highlight the global impact of small oceanic scales on marine ecosystems, operational forecasts and long-term climate projections through strong ageostrophic circulations, large vertical ocean velocities and mixed layer re-stratification. Small-scale processes particularly dominate in coastal, shelf and polar seas where they mediate important exchanges between land, ocean, atmosphere and the cryosphere, e.g., freshwater, pollutants. As numerical models continue to evolve toward finer spatial resolution and increasingly complex coupled atmosphere-wave-ice-ocean systems, modern observing capability lags behind, unable to deliver the high-resolution synoptic measurements of total currents, wind vectors and waves needed to advance understanding, develop better parameterizations and improve model validations, forecasts and projections. SEASTAR is a satellite mission concept that proposes to directly address this critical observational gap with synoptic two-dimensional imaging of total ocean surface current vectors and wind vectors at 1 km resolution and coincident directional wave spectra. Based on major recent advances in squinted along-track Synthetic Aperture Radar interferometry, SEASTAR is an innovative, mature concept with unique demonstrated capabilities, seeking to proceed toward spaceborne implementation within Europe and beyond.


satellite, air sea interactions, upper ocean dynamics, submesoscale, coastal, marginal ice zone, radar, along-track interferometry

Full Text

Publisher's official version
7711 Ko
How to cite
Gommenginger Christine, Chapron Bertrand, Hogg Andy, Buckingham Christian, Fox-Kemper Baylor, Eriksson Leif, Soulat Francois, Ubelmann Clément, Ocampo-Torres Francisco, Nardelli Bruno Buongiorno, Griffin David, Lopez-Dekker Paco, Knudsen Per, Andersen Ole, Stenseng Lars, Stapleton Neil, Perrie William, Violante-Carvalho Nelson, Schulz-Stellenfleth Johannes, Woolf David, Isern-Fontanet Jordi, Ardhuin Fabrice, Klein Patrice, Mouche Alexis, Pascual Ananda, Capet Xavier, Hauser Daniele, Stoffelen Ad, Morrow Rosemary, Aouf Lotfi, Breivik Øyvind, Fu Lee-Lueng, Johannessen Johnny A., Aksenov Yevgeny, Bricheno Lucy, Hirschi Joel, Martin Adrien CH, Martin Adiran P, Nurser George, Polton Jeff, Wolf Judith, Johnsen Harald, Soloviev Alexander, Jacobs Gregg A., Collard Fabrice, Groom Steve, Kudryavtsev Vladimir, Wilkin John, Navarro Victor, Babanin Alex, Martin Matthew, Siddorn John, Saulter Andrew, Rippeth Tom, Emery Bill, Maximenko Nikolai, Romeiser Roland, Graber Hans, Azcarate Aida Alvera, Hughes Chris W., Vandemark Doug, Silva Jose da, Leeuwen Peter Jan Van, Naveira-Garabato Alberto, Gemmrich Johannes, Mahadevan Amala, Marquez Jose, Munro Yvonne, Doody Sam, Burbidge Geoff (2019). SEASTAR: A Mission to Study Ocean Submesoscale Dynamics and Small-Scale Atmosphere-Ocean Processes in Coastal, Shelf and Polar Seas. Frontiers In Marine Science. 6 (457). 7p..,

Copy this text