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Data in Action: A Closer Look at the Sub-Mesoscale Ocean Dynamics Experiment (S-MODE)

Posted: Tue Aug 29, 2023 8:01 pm America/New_York
by PODAAC - colleen
The Sub-Mesoscale Ocean Dynamics Experiment (S-MODE) (Farrar et al., 2020) is a NASA Earth Ventures Suborbital Investigation designed to test the hypothesis that kilometer-scale (“submesoscale”) ocean eddies make important contributions to vertical exchange of climate and biological variables in the upper ocean. To test this hypothesis, S-MODE has conducted two intensive operating periods (IOPs) in the open ocean ~150 km west of San Francisco, California (Figure 1a): IOP1 covers the period from October 5 to November 3, 2022, IOP2 covers the period from April 3 to May 3, 2023. The four science objectives include: 1) measuring the three-dimensional structure of the submesoscales dynamics responsible for vertical exchange; 2) quantify the role of air-sea interaction and surface forcing; 3) understand the relation between the ocean velocity measured by remote sensing at the surface and that just below the surface boundary layer; and 4) diagnose dynamics of vertical transport processes. One novel aspect of S-MODE is its direct observations of horizontal velocities and their gradients using the airborne DopplerScatt as well as in situ platforms (top panel in Figure 1b). The combination of all assets provides an unprecedented vision into ocean physics and ocean biology at ocean submesoscales (100 m - 10 km).

The intimate connection between mesoscale and submesoscale ocean motions is revealed by the ....

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