SWOT satellite ocean data integration into regional high-resolution data-assimilative numerical models

[Cod. CNS2023-145542 PRTR SWINT]

The Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT, NASA/CNES) satellite mission was launched in December 2022, providing an innovative mapping capability of the sea surface topography with a resolution an order of magnitude higher compared to conventional altimeters. This represents a major breakthrough in Earth observation, providing new insights into fine-scale ocean dynamics including small mesoscale, sub-mesoscale, and coastal processes.

The SWINT project addresses the integration of these new observations with complementary in-situ measurements and high-resolution numerical models. Multi-platform data assimilation will be used to improve the representation of the 4-dimensional physical oceanic variables, allowing us to better characterize and understand ocean fine-scale processes and their impact on transports, ecosystems and climate. In-situ measurements from water column profiling instruments (Argo floats and underwater gliders) and surface drifters will be optimally combined with SWOT observations and kilometric-scale regional models to evaluate the benefit of these new high-resolution sea level observations. SWINT will evaluate the impact of these measurements during both the initial fast-sampling (high repetitivity but low spatial coverage) and subsequent science-sampling (low repetitivity but high spatial coverage) phases, considering as study area the Western Mediterranean Sea.