05 Apr 2023
 | 05 Apr 2023
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ESSD.

GEST: A multi-scale dynamics-based reconstruction of global ocean surface current

Guiyu Wang, Ge Chen, Chuanchuan Cao, Xiaoyan Chen, and Baoxiang Huang

Abstract. A high precision and fine resolution reconstruction of sea surface current is beneficial to the exploration of complicated ocean dynamic processes. Existing studies mainly use satellite sea level and wind stress fields to derive sea surface geostrophic and Ekman currents, and build physical inversion models for global or regional oceans. Despite the obvious success, there are a variety of typical dynamic processes in the ocean such as mesoscale eddies and small-scale waves, and any product of surface current that neglects the contribution of wave motion would be, at best, incomplete. In this context, we present a precise sea surface current product at 15 m depth named GEST (Geostrophic-Ekman-Stokes-Tide) by analyzing the coupling relationship between ocean surface components that correspond to different physical processes and the actual currents as observed by drifting buoys. The GEST was generated based on Ekman, geostrophic currents, and waved-induced Stokes drift and TPXO9 tidal currents. Specifically, in the calculation of Ekman currents, local applicability is taken into account to ensure that the friction layer of wind-driven current can reach where drifters could operate as normal. A comparison proves that combining multi-scale theory and the condition of local applicability improves estimation results by up to 3.6 cm/s compared with OSCAR product, and 0.3 cm/s with GlobCurrent. Furthermore, by comparing the reconstructed products with 1° and 0.25° resolution, we find that the higher resolution not only reveals more details of ocean currents especially mesoscale eddy energy associated with geostrophic currents, but also improves the accuracy by up to 5.62 cm/s.

Guiyu Wang et al.

Status: open (until 08 Jul 2023)

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  • RC1: 'Comment on essd-2023-107', Anonymous Referee #1, 25 May 2023 reply

Guiyu Wang et al.

Data sets

GEST Ocean Surface Current Guiyu Wang

Guiyu Wang et al.


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Short summary
We present an accurate product of ocean surface current at 15 m depth based on multi-scale physical processes. Following a training process using remote sensing observations and in situ data, the derived current field with a 1/4° resolution captures more details neglected in the 1° ones and demonstrates higher accuracy over other global surface current products at low to middle latitudes.