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The Benefits of the Ka-Band as Evidenced from the SARAL/AltiKa Altimetric Mission: Quality Assessment and Unique Characteristics of AltiKa Data

SYRTE, Observatoire de Paris, PSL Research University, CNRS, Sorbonne Universités, UPMC Univ. Paris 06, LNE, 75014 Paris, France
Institut des Géosciences de l’Environnement (IGE)/CNRS, 38041 Grenoble, France
Collecte Localisation Satellites (CLS), 31520 Ramonville Saint-Agne, France
Space Applications Centre (ISRO), Ahmedabad 380015, India
Laboratoire d’Etudes en Géophysique et Océanographie Spatiales (LEGOS), 31400 Toulouse, France
NOVELTIS, 31670 Labège, France
Géosciences Environnement Toulouse (GET), 31400 Toulouse, France
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91109, USA
Géoazur—Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur, 06905 Sophia-Antipolis, France
Surveying and Spatial Science Group, School of Geography and Environmental Studies, University of Tasmania, Hobart 7001, Australia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(1), 83;
Received: 6 December 2017 / Revised: 29 December 2017 / Accepted: 6 January 2018 / Published: 9 January 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Satellite Altimetry for Earth Sciences)
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The India-France SARAL/AltiKa mission is the first Ka-band altimetric mission dedicated to oceanography. The mission objectives are primarily the observation of the oceanic mesoscales but also include coastal oceanography, global and regional sea level monitoring, data assimilation, and operational oceanography. The mission ended its nominal phase after 3 years in orbit and began a new phase (drifting orbit) in July 2016. The objective of this paper is to provide a state of the art of the achievements of the SARAL/AltiKa mission in terms of quality assessment and unique characteristics of AltiKa data. It shows that the AltiKa data have similar accuracy at the centimeter level in term of absolute water level whatever the method (from local to global) and the type of water surfaces (ocean and lakes). It shows also that beyond the fact that AltiKa data quality meets the expectations and initial mission requirements, the unique characteristics of the altimeter and the Ka-band offer unique contributions in fields that were previously not fully foreseen. View Full-Text
Keywords: altimetry; Ka-band; data processing; calibration; validation altimetry; Ka-band; data processing; calibration; validation

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Bonnefond, P.; Verron, J.; Aublanc, J.; Babu, K.N.; Bergé-Nguyen, M.; Cancet, M.; Chaudhary, A.; Crétaux, J.-F.; Frappart, F.; Haines, B.J.; Laurain, O.; Ollivier, A.; Poisson, J.-C.; Prandi, P.; Sharma, R.; Thibaut, P.; Watson, C. The Benefits of the Ka-Band as Evidenced from the SARAL/AltiKa Altimetric Mission: Quality Assessment and Unique Characteristics of AltiKa Data. Remote Sens. 2018, 10, 83.

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