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Diagnostic model and analysis of the surface currents in the Tropical Pacific Ocean

Author(s): Bonjean F, Lagerloef GSE


A diagnostic model of the tropical circulation over the 0–30-m layer is derived by using quasi-linear and steady physics. The horizontal velocity is directly estimated from sea surface height (TOPEX/Poseidon), surface vector wind (SSM/I) and sea surface temperature (AVHRR + in situ measurements). The absolute velocity is completed using the mean dynamic height inferred from the World Ocean Atlas (WOA). The central issue investigated in this study is the more accurate estimate of equatorial surface currents relative to prior satellite-derived method. The model formulation combines geostrophic, Ekman, and Stommel shear dynamics, and a complementary term from surface buoyancy gradient.

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