Journal of Oceanography, Vol. 60 (No. 2), pp. 365-374, 2004
Kaoru Ichikawa1*, Noriaki Gohda2, Masazumi Arai2 and Arata Kaneko2
1Research Institute for Applied Mechanics, Kyushu University, Kasuga, Fukuoka 816-8580, Japan; also at Frontier Observational Research System for Global Change, Yokosuka, Kanagawa 237-0061, Japan
2Division of Global Environment Engineering, Graduate School of Engineering, Hiroshima University, Higashi-Hiroshima 739-8527, Japan
(Received 20 May 2003; in revised form 18 October 2003; accepted 18 October 2003)
Abstract: A method has been developed to monitor the surface velocity field by combining repeated acoustic Doppler current profiler (ADCP) observations and satellite altimetry data. The geostrophic velocity anomaly is calculated from the sea surface height anomaly field estimated from the altimetry data by an optimal interpolation. It has been confirmed that this accurately observes the smoothed velocity anomaly field when the interpolation scales are set according to the spatio-temporal sampling pattern of the altimeter used. The velocity anomaly obtained from the altimetry data is subtracted from the repeated ADCP observations to estimate temporal mean velocity along the ship tracks. Regularly sampled, nine-year time series of surface velocity can then be obtained by adding the computed mean velocity and the altimetry anomaly components. This clearly illustrates surface velocity fluctuations such as the movement of the Kuroshio axis due to its meandering and an increase of the interannual variability of the Subtropical Countercurrent toward its downstream region.