Spatial Altimetry, GNSS Reflectometry and Marine Surcotes

Abstract : The objective of this PhD thesis was to develop an innovative remote sensing methodology, based on existing platforms, to monitor the main factors influencing coastal dynamics. We propose monitoring based on a classic tool i.e. satellite altimetry but with a focus on new space missions (SARAL, Sentinel-3). Whose contributions will be evaluated, particularly in the coastal zone, which is the most critical from a socio-economic point of view? I have focused my attention on the French Atlantic coast between La Rochelle and Bayonne. We will also rely on an original technique based on the reflection of GNSS positioning satellites (technical known as GNSS-R). These tools will allow us to precisely monitor the various tidal waves, but they have also allowed us to detect more unusual phenomena such as the extreme event of 2010: the storm Xynthia that affected the coasts of southern Europe. These tools demonstrate that it is also possible will also be able to see to monitor the coastal dynamics related to swell variations and its impact on coastal erosion, and even the effects of the strong atmospheric depression associated with Xynthia, which has had a measurable impact on the local sea level of the Atlantic Ocean. My thesis is focused on two complementary approaches based on two scales of study: the first one is global and used satellite altimetry, the second one is more local and focused on the extreme event detection and it is based on the GNSS reflectometry. The first study, which I carried out, relies on different satellite altimetry missions (ERS-2, Jason- 1/2/3, ENVISAT, SARAL) which allowed us to follow the sea level variations (SSH) from the French Atlantic coast to the south of the Bay of Biscay during the 1995-2015 period. SARAL data, including a footprint of around 6 km, show that it is now possible to approach the coastal fringe up to ~ 10 km with a great precision (RMSE ~ 20 cm). The second application is based on the GNSS-R methodology that we used to track SSH in the inner part of the bay of Saint Jean de Luz – Socoa during the storm Xynthia. Here again the results are exceptional since they allowed us to follow the impact of the storm Xynthia on the local level of the ocean. I thus highlighted that it was possible with only one instrument to follow the effects of the tides, and even the effects of the marine surges which associated to the impact of the atmospheric pressure on the sea level give a good correlation (R = 0.77 between the RC3 component and the surge, and R = 0.73 with the atmospheric pressure) during storm. Finally we also looked at what is happening in the transition between continental and oceanic waters for the deltas of the Red River and Mekong in Vietnam. And, even if the time series are rather short or truncated (Red River) the results are more than encouraging since they allowed us to follow the flooding events associated with two tropical storms (Mirinae and Nida) and to measure the delay between the rain falls and the propagation of the flood wave which shows in this case a delay of 48 h for Nida. With the deployment of permanent GNSS networks in many countries, this technique can be applied when a permanent GNSS station is located near the shore. The GNSS-R approach can be used to monitor sea level variations but also the effect of extreme events. For that we used 3 months of recordings (January-March 2010) from the Socoa GNSS station to determine the tidal components in the GNSS-R signals and to identify the Xynthia storm. This study is the first example of the use of GNSS-R to detect overcoats and storms using signal decomposition techniques in the form of singular spectral analysis (SSA) and continuous wavelet transformation. One of the modes of decomposition of the SSA was related to temporal variations in surcharges and atmospheric fluctuations across the inverted barometer. My work shows that new altimetry mission and GNSS-R are a powerful alternative and a significant complement technique for managing water resource and monitoring SLR near the coastal area. The GNSS-R technique have also a great advantage based on an already developed and sustainable GNSS satellite networks which has recorded continuous and large time series shall exceed 15 years. These quite long time series are necessary to have a good estimation of the effects of the global warming on the sea level height.
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Phuong-Lan Vu. Spatial Altimetry, GNSS Reflectometry and Marine Surcotes. Earth Sciences. Université Toulouse III Paul Sabatier (UT3 Paul Sabatier), 2019. English. ⟨tel-02167814⟩

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