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The GlobCurrent project is funded by the Data User Element, which is a programmatic element of the 4th period of the European Space Agency's Earth Observation Envelope Programme.



Background, Objectives and Outline of Approach: Ocean Surface Currents (OSC) are the coherent horizontal and vertical movement of surface ocean water (over a specific depth regime) with a given velocity and an upper boundary in contact with the atmosphere that persist over a geographical region and time period. Direct and indirect estimates of OSC and higher level derived quantities such as frontal boundaries can be derived using a variety of satellite sensors including altimetry (both LRM and SARM), gravimetry, SAR, scatterometry, optical (VIS and TIR) and passive microwaves. Sparse in-situ current measurements from drifting and moored buoys, coastal HF-radar installations, Argo floats, gliders and ship observations complement these satellite measurements. Each of these satellite and in-situ based measurement techniques has their specific strength and limitations (e.g., resolution, coverage, accuracy, depth integration, cloud dependence, empirical based retrieval methods, etc). By development and use of systematic data merging and sensor synergy combined with advanced processing tools and simulation models, the complementary strength of each sensing technique can be optimized. In so doing the deficiencies are relaxed and the final estimate of the OSC and higher level derived products (e.g. frontal boundaries) will be more consistent, regular and reliable. In turn the use and uptake of satellite based OSC derived products will grow.

GlobCurent aims to advance the quantitative estimation of ocean surface currents from satellite sensor synergy and to demonstrate the impact and advancements through user-led scientific, operational and commercial applications.  This in turn, will highlight the advantages of satellite approaches and increase the uptake and exploitation of satellite ocean current measurements.

The DUE mission is to encourage the establishment of a long-term relationship between end User communities and Earth Observation.

The DUE philosophy is to Develop, Operate and Transfer Research and Development (R&D) activities that support user-driven applications of ESA Earth Observation (EO) satellite data.