A new satellite mission to measure ocean motions

The Sea-surface Kinematics Multiscale monitoring (SKIM) mission is based on a novel wide-swath scanning multibeam radar altimeter to measure ocean-surface currents. It is the first satellite missions to use a Doppler technique, which offers a direct measurements of ocean motions. than conventional satellite altimeters.

These new measurements would improve our understanding of vertical and horizontal ocean–surface dynamics over the global ocean. This would lead to better knowledge of how the ocean and atmosphere interact – for example, how El-Ninos are triggered, the role of tropical currents, how the ice edge moves...

SKIM would have particular relevance for understanding the rapidly changing Arctic Ocean, and for observing equatorial regions where today's satellite altimeters are unable to provide useful measurements of currents. Even at mid-latitudes, as in the image of the Gulf Stream below, SKIM will provide better sampling in space and time, supporting new scientific discovery and applications for daily work at sea.