ship-based
(proposed)
infrastructure
(proposed)
ship-based
(confirmed)
infrastructure
(confirmed)
mooring

Elbe Estuary and Western Baltic Coast

Monitoring the river-to-ocean continuum and understanding estuarine and coastal hydrodynamic processes.

The Elbe Estuary and Western Baltic Coast campaign aims at bringing together remote sensing, oceanography and hydrology topics in the Elbe estuary and Western Baltic coastal region to disentangle estuarine and coastal processes and their interaction. In this region, the SWOT cal/val site includes both the Elbe Estuary between its mouth in the German Bight and its dike in Geerstacht and the non-tidal river after the dike. The Baltic German coast is also included, while the Elbe Estuary outflow in the North-Sea German coasts is covered and considered under the science phase.

The Elbe Estuary and Western Baltic Coast campaign aims at a high-grade analysis based on superior level of information from space combined with in-situ coastal observations and greater wealth of processes in the coastal and estuarine models that consider explicitly the land boundary condition (including, thus, the linkage to the emerged coast).

It is hypothesised that the new altimetry remote sensing observations from the Delay Doppler and wide-swath technique have the potential to make an unprecedented progress at (1) monitoring the river-to-ocean continuum and (2) understanding estuarine and coastal hydrodynamic processes. 

The first scientific goal is to study processes of tidal mixing, storm surges and salt water intrusions and the interaction of tide and discharge in the sea/estuary/river environments. A second scientific goal is the monitoring and detection of long-term and extreme variation in water level and discharge occurring in the interval 2010-2022 in estuarine and coastal zone by using enhanced space altimeter data. A third goal is to understand the observed signals and their errors. In practise, we should understand the possible limitations of both nadir and swath altimeter data with implication towards future altimeter mission planning.

The campaign instrumentation in the Elbe estuary includes 22 in-situ gauges, 7 of them are collocated to GNSS receivers and measure the water level above the ITRF14 ellipsoid. Processed with the GNSS-R technique, standard and low-cost GNSS receivers are also used to measure the water level change. On the non-tidal river, other 7 gauges are available in the right side of the SWOT band.  Along the Baltic coast’s gauges, buoys and subsurface moorings are available and operational since many years. Recordings of velocity profiles, bottom pressure, and echo sounder water depth are planned during the 1-day ascending swath of SWOT. Full water depth data is available in real-time from the BSH “Fehmarn Belt” station and from the Station “Kiel Lighthouse”. Coastal tide gauges provide additional spatial context for the local observations at sea. (See AdAC-CONWEST in the Baltic). Five ocean models are available for comparison.

ROI of Elbe estuary and river with gauges (green triangles) and GNSS (red dots).
Bathymetry of the Elbe estuary.
Extended ROI including the SWOT track in the Baltic with gauges (triangles), GNSS (red dots) and other permanent in-situ stations (inverted triangle).

Principal investigators: L. Fenoglio (Institute of Geodesy and Geoinformation, Bonn University), J. Staneva (Helmholtz Center Geesthacht)2, A. Sudau (BfG), T. Artz (BfG), Kusche (Institute of Geodesy and Geoinformation, Bonn University)

Contact point for the study site: Luciana Fenoglio-Marc (fenoglio@geod.uni-bonn.de)

Location: lon: 7-13; lat: 53-56