1. Tracking Ocean Currents from Space: A New Application of GRACE Data

Tracking Ocean Currents from Space: A New Application of GRACE Data

A team of NASA and university scientists has developed a new way to use measurements from NASA's GRACE mission to track changes in Atlantic Ocean currents.

GRACE image of ocean currents

A team of NASA and university scientists has developed a new way to use measurements from NASA's Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) mission to track changes in Atlantic Ocean currents, which are a driving force in global climate. The finding opens a path to better monitoring and understanding of how ocean circulation is changing and what the changes may mean for future climate.

NASA's GRACE satellites measured Atlantic Ocean bottom pressure as an indicator of deep ocean current speed. This image shows bottom pressure anomaly (mean ofNovember 2009 through March 2010, relative to 20052012 mean) over the NorthAtlantic basin. This pattern of above-average (blue) and below-average (red) seafloor pressure revealed a temporary slowing of the deep currents.

For more detail about this research, please see the following paper: Landerer, F.W., Wiese, D.N., Bentel, K.,Boening, C. & Watkins, M.M. (2015), "North Atlantic meridional overturning circulation variations from GRACE ocean bottom pressure anomalies."Geophysical Research Letters, 42(19), 8114–8121 [doi: 10.1002/2015GL065730].

Last Updated: Nov 16, 2016 at 2:08 PM EST

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