The performance of coastal altimetry over a wide continental shelf is assessed using multiple-year ocean current observations by moored Acoustic Doppler Current Profilers (ADCP) and high-frequency (HF) radar on the West Florida Shelf. Across-track, surface geostrophic velocity anomalies, derived from the X-TRACK along-track sea level anomalies are compared with the near surface current vector components from moored ADCP observations at mid shelf. The altimeter-derived velocity anomalies are also directly compared with the HF radar surface current vector radial components that are aligned perpendicular to the satellite track. Preliminary results indicate the potential usefulness of the along-track altimetry data in contributing to descriptions of the surface circulation on the West Florida Shelf and the challenges of such applications. On subtidal time scales, the root-mean-square difference (rmsd) between the estimated and the observed near surface velocity component anomalies is 8–11 cm/s, which is about the same magnitude as the standard deviations of the velocity components themselves. Adding a wind-driven Ekman velocity component generally helps to reduce the rmsd values.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/yliu/5/