Ocean Surface Topography Science Team

PI: Leuliette, Eric (NOAA Center for Satellite Applications and Research)
Co-PI(s): Carton, James (University of Maryland) : Egido, Alejandro (Global Science & Technology Inc.) : Farrell, Sinead (University of Maryland) : Wilkin, John (Rutgers University)
Start Year: 2021 | Duration: 3 years
Partners: NOAA, NASA, University of Maryland, Rutgers University, Global Science & Technology Inc.

Project Abstract:

The Ocean Surface Topography Science Team (OSTST) brings together international scientists to understand Earth’s oceans and their interaction within the climate system using ocean altimetry satellite observations. Over the past 28 years, measurements of ocean surface topography have been provided by the U.S.-European series of satellite missions, which began with the TOPEX/Poseidon satellite mission in 1992-2005 and continued through the Jason-1 in 2001-2013, OSTM/Jason-2 in 2008-2019, and currently by Jason-3 missions, with the latter launched in 2016. The first mission in the Jason Continuity of Service program, Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich, was launched in November 2020, as a continued international partnership between the U.S. and Europe, and will be used operationally at NOAA. Sentinel-6 extends the altimetry reference mission to at least 2030. NASA and NOAA jointly select and support U.S. investigations for the OSTST through the Research Opportunities in Space and Earth Science. For Europe, the European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites and the French National Center for Space Studies make a similar joint selection of team members.

The OSTST NOAA Jason/Sentinel-6 program supported four investigations for the period 2021-2024:

  • Improving Tropical Cyclone Intensity Forecasts by Assimilating Ocean Surface Drifter paths with altimeter sea level in a Coupled Atmosphere-Ocean Forecast System (James Carton, University of Maryland)
  • Towards an Improved Reconciliation of High- and Low-Resolution Ocean Altimeter Measurements Under Changing Surface Wave Structure Conditions (Alejandro Egido, Global Science & Technology Inc.)
  • High-Latitude Multi-Altimeter Observations of the Arctic Ocean and its Sea Ice Cover (Sinead Farrell, University of Maryland)
  • Mesoscale to submesoscale ocean state estimation by 2-way nested 4-dimensional variational data assimilation utilizing multi-mission nadir altimetry with supporting high resolution satellite and in situ observations (John Wilkin, Rutgers University)