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Title: The effects of altimeter instrument noise on the estimation of the wavenumber spectrum of sea surface height
First author: Y-S, Xu (Yongsheng Xu)
The wavenumber spectrum of sea surface height (SSH) observed by satellite altimetry was analyzed by Xu and Fu. The spectral shape in the wavelength range of 70–250 km was approximated by a power law, representing a regime governed by geostrophic turbulence theories. The effects of altimeter instrument noise were assumed insignificant at wavelengths longer than 70 km. The authors reexamined the assumption in the study. Using nearly simultaneous observations made byJason-1 and Jason-2 during their cross-calibration phase, this study found that the white noise level of altimetry measurement was best estimated from the spectral values at wavelengths from 25 to 35 km. After removing a white noise level based on such estimate from the SSH spectrum, the spectral slope values changed significantly over most of the oceans. A key finding is that the spectral slopes are generally steeper than k−2 (k is wavenumber) poleward of the 20° latitudes, where flatter spectral slopes in some regions have previously caused problems for dynamic interpretations. The new results indicate that the spectral slopes in the core regions of the major ocean current systems have values between the original geostrophic turbulence theory and the surface quasigeostrophic theory. The near k−4 spectrum suggests that the sea surface height variability at these wavelengths in the high eddy energy regions might be governed by frontogenesis.
Contact the author: L-L Fu(Lee-Lueng Fu)
Page number: 2229-2233
Issue: 12
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PubYear: Dec. 2012
Volume: 42
Unit code: 133137
Publication name: Journal of Physical Oceanography
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