Abstract's details

Ocean waves in the South Pacific: complementarity of SWIM and SAR observations

Ludivine Oruba (Sorbonne Universite, France)

Event: 2022 CFOSAT Science Team Meeting

Session: SWIM product assessment

Presentation type: Type Forum only

Contribution: PDF file


This study focuses on ocean waves impacting the Moorea Island in French Polynesia, where coral reefs play an essential role in the biodiversity and protection of habitations. We investigate how the innovative SWIM instrument of the CFOSAT satellite enables to document on a multi-annual basis, the spectral properties of ocean waves reaching the coasts of the Moorea Island. Our analysis is based on comparisons with in situ measurements (wave gauges deployed on the outer slope of the coral reef), and with other satellite observations (altimeter, SAR). Accounting for local masking effects, we show that SWIM provides relevant information on short swell or wind waves, which is missed by the SAR observations, in particular in high sea-state conditions, owing to the dominant propagation direction being close to the azimuth. We, nevertheless, also find that wave properties in low sea-state conditions are better documented by SAR than by SWIM. Such results are important to accurately measure and predict the wave conditions which fragilize the coral reefs and to evaluate the impact of extreme events on tropical islands and coral reefs.
Ludivine Oruba
Sorbonne Universite