Stratification is of critical importance to the circulation, mixing and productivity of the ocean, and is expected to be modified by climate change. Stratification is also understood to affect the surface aggregation of pelagic fish and hence the foraging behaviour and distribution of their predators such as seabirds and cetaceans. Hence it would be prudent to monitor the stratification of the global ocean, though this is currently only possible using in situ sampling, profiling buoys or underwater autonomous vehicles. Earth observation (EO) sensors cannot directly detect stratification, but can observe surface features related to the presence of stratification, for example shelf-sea fronts that separate tidally-mixed water from seasonally stratified water. This paper describes a novel algorithm that accumulates evidence for stratification from a sequence of oceanic front maps, and discusses preliminary results in comparison with in situ data and simulations from 3D hydrodynamic models. In certain regions, this method can reveal the timing of the seasonal onset and breakdown of stratification.
Peter I. Miller and Benjamin R. Loveday, "Revealing the timing of ocean stratification using remotely sensed ocean fronts," Proc. SPIE 10422, Remote Sensing of the Ocean, Sea Ice, Coastal Waters, and Large Water Regions 2017, 104220J (Presented at SPIE Remote Sensing: September 12, 2017; Published: 13 October 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2278150.
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