I am working on a research study to analyze physical oceanography features in the Arabian Sea using Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) remote sensing imagery. For this study, we are using L-band ALOS PALSAR imagery. In the first phase, we have been looking at summer monsoon upwelling and related biogenic slicks. After processing some SAR imagery, and just going through some of the images visually, we discovered a really nice sub-mesoscale eddy in one image.
For the uninitiated, submesoscale eddies are fleeting and shy creatures of physical oceanography, and have not proven easy to find, due to their short temporal and spatial scales. Submesoscale eddies and dynamics are subjects of current research in physical oceanography, both in terms of modeling and observations (see,, Few ships with wakes are also clearly visible in the SAR image.
The image is a processed SAR image from ALOS PALSAR. Processing steps include calibration, speckle filtering, geocoding, and resampling through automated processing workflows. I am working with a graduate student to analyze ALOS PALSAR-1 and PALSAR-2 images spread over 4 years to analyze physical oceanography features in the Arabian Sea. This research is supported by the International Foundation for Science, JAXA Research Announcement 4 (RA-4), and the Institute of Space Technology. We have also published some basic work on identifying a temperature front in SAR imagery in the Arabian Sea (more on that in an upcoming blog post).
I had previously found a submesoscale eddy in the California Current System when deriving ocean currents from sequential SAR imagery, see the paper here. Also, Marmorino et al. (2010) found submesoscale eddies in SAR imagery in the Southern California Bight.
To learn more about the state-of-the-art in submesoscale ocean dynamics, see:
- Thomas et al. (2008) book chapter on submesoscal dynamics and processes
- Post-doc position in submesoscale dynamics of the ocean
- Gula et al. (2016) paper on the submesoscale dynamics of an eddy in the Gulf Stream
- Caltech research group on submesoscale dynamics
- A recent PhD thesis on submesocale dynamics of the upper ocean