Measuring Ocean Currents

1st Edition

Tools, Technologies, and Data

Authors: Antony Joseph
Hardcover ISBN: 9780124159907
eBook ISBN: 9780123914286
Imprint: Elsevier
Published Date: 27th September 2013
Page Count: 448
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Measuring Ocean Currents: Tools, Technologies, and Data covers all major aspects of ocean current measurements in view of the implications of ocean currents on changing climate, increasing pollution levels, and offshore engineering activities. Although more than 70% of the Earth is covered by ocean, there is limited information on the countless fine- to large-scale water motions taking place within them. This book fills that information gap as the first work that summarizes the state-of-the-art methods and instruments used for surface, subsurface, and abyssal ocean current measurements.

Readers of this book will find a wealth of information on Lagrangian measurements, horizontal mapping, imaging, Eulerian measurements, and vertical profiling techniques. In addition, the book describes modern technologies for remote measurement of ocean currents and their signatures, including HF Doppler radar systems, satellite-borne sensors, ocean acoustic tomography, and more. Crucial aspects of ocean currents are described in detail as well, including dispersion of effluents discharged into the sea and transport of beneficial materials—as well as environmentally hazardous materials—from one region to another. The book highlights several important practical applications, showing how measurements relate to climate change and pollution levels, how they affect coastal and offshore engineering activities, and how they can aid in tsunami detection.

Key Features

  • Coverage of measurement, mapping and profiling techniques
  • Descriptions of technologies for remote measurement of ocean currents and their signatures
  • Reviews crucial aspects of ocean currents, including special emphasis on the planet-spanning thermohaline circulation, known as the ocean's "conveyor belt," and its crucial role in climate change


Oceanographers and marine engineers; graduate and Ph.D. students taking courses in oceanography or ocean instrumentation and technology, oceanographic laboratories, public libraries

Table of Contents




Chapter 1. Oceanic Currents and Their Implications


1.1 Oceans’ Thermohaline Conveyor Belt Circulation and Global Climate Change

1.2 Meandering Currents, Eddies, Rings, and Hydrographic Fronts

1.3 Influence of Eddies and Fronts on Fishery and Weather

1.4 Major Current Systems in the World Oceans

1.5 Currents of Different Origins

1.6 Implications of Ocean Currents


Chapter 2. The History of Measuring Ocean Currents


2.1 Surface Current Measurements

2.2 Subsurface and Abyssal Current Measurements

2.3 Seafloor Boundary Layer Current Measurements

2.4 Vertical Profiling of Horizontal Currents



Chapter 3. Lagrangian-Style Surface Current Measurements Through Tracking of Surface Drifters


3.1 Radio Buoys

3.2 Limitations of Surface Drifters



Chapter 4. Remote Mapping of Sea Surface Currents Using HF Doppler Radar Networks


4.1 Crombie’s Discovery

4.2 Peculiarities of Pulse Doppler-Radar Echo Spectra

4.3 Estimation of Sea Surface Current Using the Bragg Resonance Principle

4.4 Depth Extent of Doppler Radar-Based Sea Surface Current Measurements

4.5 Technological Aspects of Doppler Radar-Based Surface Current Mapping

4.6 Experimental Developments

4.7 Instrumentation Aspects

4.8 Radial and Total Vector Currents

4.9 Developments on Operational Scales

4.10 Intercomparison Considerations

4.11 Advantages of Radio-Wave Doppler Radar Measurements

4.12 Round-the-Clock Coast- and Shelf-Observing Role of Doppler Radar

4.13 Detection and Monitoring of Tsunami-Induced Sea Surface-Current Jets at Continental Shelves




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About the Author

Antony Joseph

Antony Joseph has an oceanographic career of about 36 years. He has worked at POL (UK), where part of his Ph.D work was carried out. He lead the establishment of a sea-level station at the central east Atlantic coast, the data from which, in the absence of other data from this region, became highly valuable in understanding the global extent of the December 2004 global tsunami. His contribution enables real-time Internet viewing of data in graphical format ( He authored two Elsevier books: (1) Tsunamis, (2) Measuring Ocean Currents; published chapters in books, articles in Encyclopedias, research papers in journals; and interacted with the public through print and audiovisual communication medias.

Affiliations and Expertise

National Institute of Oceanography, Goa, India