New insights into ocean circulation from an unexpected source

New insights into ocean circulation from an unexpected source

Ifremer and ESA organized an International Workshop on Marine-Atmosphere Extreme Events that took place from 3-5 April 2023 in Brest, France.

At the Maxss workshop, eOdyn showcased an innovative approach to observing divergent ocean currents. By analyzing Automatic Identification System (AIS) data transmitted by commercial ships, eOdyn’s team has developed a technique to produce high-resolution maps of total ocean currents.

AIS data offers a continuous, abundant source of information on ship movements at the surface. eOdyn developed intelligent algorithms to filter out effects like ship speed and heading changes in order to isolate the velocity component due to ocean currents. The resulting current maps reveal stunning details, such as finely-structured divergence zones, which have never been visible before. These new insights highlight the value of exploring unconventional data sources for ocean monitoring.

Pierre-Yves Colson presented results demonstrating the promise and challenges of this new method, which eOdyn has actively worked to validate against other measurements.

Congratulations to Pierre-Yves Colson for pioneering this new frontier of ocean observation! Your research promises to yield both immediate applications and long-term benefits to our understanding of how ocean circulation varies across scales. This is exactly the kind of innovative, cross-cutting work that the Maxss program was designed to highlight.

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