Backgrounds and Aims

Background and Motivation

The ocean water flowing though the straits between UK and Greenland is known to play an important role in the global circulation as well as on the climate in Northern Europe. Warm Gulf Stream water is gradually cooling as it flows into the Nordic seas and transfers heat to the atmosphere. The Gulf Stream also feeds the formation of heavy, cold bottom water that returns back into the Atlantic Ocean contributing to the global ocean circulation.

Even if climate is getting warmer globally it is very possible that the climate of Northern Europe will become cooler. A weakening of the warm Gulf Stream could collapse and northward heat transport between Europe and Greenland cooling Northern Europe. Furthermore, changes in the mean flows and transport in deep waters may change ocean up welling and larvae transports relevant for fish populations.

Aims and Objectives

The overall aim of GOCINA is to enhance European capacity in Earth observation technologies. This is done by promoting and developing methods for the joint exploitation of the approved European Space Agency missions ENVISAT and GOCE for ocean circulation studies, associated climate modelling and operational data assimilation.

The European investment in Earth observing satellites has been significant. In the GOCINA project the values and utilization of this extensive promotion of space borne date can be properly demonstrated in the context of ocean monitoring.

  • GOCINA determines an new an accurate geoid in the region between Greenland and the UK. It merges existing satellite and surface date with new airborne data.
  • The new GOCINA products of geoid, mean sea surface and mean dynamic surface will be used for improved analysis of the ocean circulation and transport in the straits between Greenland and UK.
  • GOCINA develops new generic tools to enhance ocean analysis using Earth observation data from ENVISAT and GOCE and provide invaluable information on the ocean's role in climate.
  • GOCINA will support the GOCE mission with a set of specific recommendation for integrating GOCE in ocean circulation studies.