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Comparing water level estimation in coastal and shelf seas from satellite altimetry and numerical models

Comparing water level estimation in coastal and shelf seas from satellite altimetry and numerical models
Comparing water level estimation in coastal and shelf seas from satellite altimetry and numerical models
Accurately resolving coastal Total Water Levels (TWL) is crucial for socio-economic and environmental reasons. Recent efforts in satellite altimetry and numerical modeling have improved accuracy over near-shore areas. In this study we used data from tide gauges (TGs), SAR-mode altimetry from two satellites [Sentinel-3A (S3) and CryoSat-2 (C2)], and a state-of-the-art high-resolution regional coupled environmental prediction model (Amm15) to undertake an inter-comparison between the observations and the model. The aim is to quantify our capability to measure TWL around the United Kingdom coast, and to quantify the capacity of the model to represent coastal TWL. Results show good agreement between the satellite and TG data [the mean correlation (R) over seventeen TGs between June 2016 and September 2017 is 0.85 for S3 and 0.80 for C2]. The satellite-model comparison shows that the variability is well captured (R = 0.98 for both satellite), however, there is an offset (−0.23 m for S3, −0.15 m for C2) between the satellite and model data, that is near-constant across the domain. This offset is partly attributed to the difference in the reference level used by the satellites and the model, and residual differences linked to the temporal resolution of the model. The best agreement between model and satellite is seen away from the coast, further than 3–4 km offshore. However, even within the coastal band, R remains high, ∼0.95 (S3) and ∼0.96 (C2). In conclusion, models are still essential to represent TWL in coastal regions where there is no cover from in-situ observations, but satellite altimeters can now provide valuable observations that are reliable much closer to the coast than before.
altimetry, comparison, numerical model, shelf sea, water level
2296-7745
Rulent, Julia
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Calafat, Francisco M.
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Banks, Christopher J.
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Bricheno, Lucy May
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Gommenginger, Christine
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Green, J. A. Mattias
9fcc6dc0-8c2b-4276-ba59-3f88d3ae81d8
Haigh, Ivan D.
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Lewis, Huw
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Martin, Adrien C. H.
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Rulent, Julia
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Calafat, Francisco M.
f97617bd-0238-48e6-b693-7d409ac30c47
Banks, Christopher J.
5d65ec1e-ed5f-48fc-9b05-3e46f24c35dc
Bricheno, Lucy May
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Gommenginger, Christine
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Green, J. A. Mattias
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Haigh, Ivan D.
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Lewis, Huw
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Martin, Adrien C. H.
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Rulent, Julia, Calafat, Francisco M., Banks, Christopher J., Bricheno, Lucy May, Gommenginger, Christine, Green, J. A. Mattias, Haigh, Ivan D., Lewis, Huw and Martin, Adrien C. H. (2020) Comparing water level estimation in coastal and shelf seas from satellite altimetry and numerical models. Frontiers in Marine Science, 7, [549467]. (doi:10.3389/fmars.2020.549467).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Accurately resolving coastal Total Water Levels (TWL) is crucial for socio-economic and environmental reasons. Recent efforts in satellite altimetry and numerical modeling have improved accuracy over near-shore areas. In this study we used data from tide gauges (TGs), SAR-mode altimetry from two satellites [Sentinel-3A (S3) and CryoSat-2 (C2)], and a state-of-the-art high-resolution regional coupled environmental prediction model (Amm15) to undertake an inter-comparison between the observations and the model. The aim is to quantify our capability to measure TWL around the United Kingdom coast, and to quantify the capacity of the model to represent coastal TWL. Results show good agreement between the satellite and TG data [the mean correlation (R) over seventeen TGs between June 2016 and September 2017 is 0.85 for S3 and 0.80 for C2]. The satellite-model comparison shows that the variability is well captured (R = 0.98 for both satellite), however, there is an offset (−0.23 m for S3, −0.15 m for C2) between the satellite and model data, that is near-constant across the domain. This offset is partly attributed to the difference in the reference level used by the satellites and the model, and residual differences linked to the temporal resolution of the model. The best agreement between model and satellite is seen away from the coast, further than 3–4 km offshore. However, even within the coastal band, R remains high, ∼0.95 (S3) and ∼0.96 (C2). In conclusion, models are still essential to represent TWL in coastal regions where there is no cover from in-situ observations, but satellite altimeters can now provide valuable observations that are reliable much closer to the coast than before.

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Accepted/In Press date: 8 October 2020
Published date: 29 October 2020
Keywords: altimetry, comparison, numerical model, shelf sea, water level

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 444740
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/444740
ISSN: 2296-7745
PURE UUID: ddd65bcc-1f7c-4651-abdc-01c1de034de3

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Date deposited: 03 Nov 2020 17:30
Last modified: 25 Nov 2021 23:06

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Contributors

Author: Julia Rulent
Author: Francisco M. Calafat
Author: Christopher J. Banks
Author: Lucy May Bricheno
Author: Christine Gommenginger
Author: J. A. Mattias Green
Author: Ivan D. Haigh
Author: Huw Lewis
Author: Adrien C. H. Martin

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