Sensors 2006, 6(3), 164-192; doi:10.3390/s6030164
Article

Performances Study of Interferometric Radar Altimeters: from the Instrument to the Global Mission Definition

1 CNES, 18 av. Edouard Belin, 31055 Toulouse Cedex 4, France 2 LEGOS, 14 av. Edouard Belin, 31400 Toulouse, France 3 IFREMER, 155 rue Jean Jacques Rousseau, 92138 Issy les Moulineaux, France 4 IFREMER, 155 rue Jean Jacques Rousseau, 92138 Issy les Moulineaux, FranceJPL, 4800 Oak Grove Drive, Pasadena, CA 91109, USA 5 ALCATEL SPACE, 28, av. Jean Fran├žois Champollion, 31000 Toulouse, France
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 4 August 2005; Accepted: 2 February 2006 / Published: 7 March 2006
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Satellite Altimetry: New Sensors and New Application)
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Abstract: The main limitations of standard nadir-looking radar altimeters have been knownfor long. They include the lack of coverage (intertrack distance of typically 150 km for theT/P / Jason tandem), and the spatial resolution (typically 2 km for T/P and Jason), expectedto be a limiting factor for the determination of mesoscale phenomena in deep ocean. In thiscontext, various solutions using off-nadir radar interferometry have been proposed byRodriguez and al to give an answer to oceanographic mission objectives. This paperaddresses the performances study of this new generation of instruments, and dedicatedmission. A first approach is based on the Wide-Swath Ocean Altimeter (WSOA) intended tobe implemented onboard Jason-2 in 2004 but now abandoned. Every error domain has beenchecked: the physics of the measurement, its geometry, the impact of the platform andexternal errors like the tropospheric and ionospheric delays. We have especially shown thestrong need to move to a sun-synchronous orbit and the non-negligible impact of propagation media errors in the swath, reaching a few centimetres in the worst case. Some changes in the parameters of the instrument have also been discussed to improve the overall error budget. The outcomes have led to the definition and the optimization of such an instrument and its dedicated mission.
Keywords: altimetry; interferometry; error budget; system analysis; ocean; mesoscale.

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MDPI and ACS Style

Enjolras, V.; Vincent, P.; Souyris, J.-C.; Rodriguez, E.; Phalippou, L.; Cazenave, A. Performances Study of Interferometric Radar Altimeters: from the Instrument to the Global Mission Definition. Sensors 2006, 6, 164-192.

AMA Style

Enjolras V, Vincent P, Souyris J-C, Rodriguez E, Phalippou L, Cazenave A. Performances Study of Interferometric Radar Altimeters: from the Instrument to the Global Mission Definition. Sensors. 2006; 6(3):164-192.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Enjolras, Vivien; Vincent, Patrick; Souyris, Jean-Claude; Rodriguez, Ernesto; Phalippou, Laurent; Cazenave, Anny. 2006. "Performances Study of Interferometric Radar Altimeters: from the Instrument to the Global Mission Definition." Sensors 6, no. 3: 164-192.

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