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Crocker, RI, Matthews, DK, Emery, WJ, Baldwin, DG (2007). Computing coastal ocean surface currents from infrared and ocean color satellite imagery. IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON GEOSCIENCE AND REMOTE SENSING, 45(2), 435-447.

Many previous studies have demonstrated the viability of estimating advective ocean surface currents from sequential infrared satellite imagery using the maximum cross-correlation (MCC) technique when applied to 1.1-km-resolution Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) thermal infrared imagery. Applied only to infrared imagery, cloud cover and undesirable viewing conditions (gaps in satellite data and edge-of-scan distortions) limit the spatial and temporal coverage of the resulting velocity fields. In addition, MCC currents are limited to those represented by the displacements of thermal surface patterns, and hence, isothermal flow is not detected by the MCC method. The possibility of supplementing MCC currents derived from thermal AVHRR imagery was examined, with currents calculated from 1.1-km-resolution Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) and Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-view Sensor (SeaWiFS) ocean color imagery, which often have spatial patterns complementary to the thermal infrared patterns. Statistical comparisons are carried out between yearlong collections of thermal and ocean color derived MCC velocities for the central California Current. It is found that the image surface patterns and resulting MCC velocities complement one another to reduce the effects of poor viewing conditions and isothermal flow. The two velocity products are found to agree quite well with a mean correlation of 0.74, a mean rms difference of 7.4 cm/s, and a mean bias less than 2 cm/s which is considerably smaller than the established absolute error of the MCC method. Merging the thermal and ocean color MCC velocity fields increases the spatial coverage by approximately 25% for this specific case study.



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