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Calibrating the SAR SSH of Sentinel-3A and CryoSat-2 over the Corsica Facilities

SYRTE, Observatoire de Paris, PSL Research University, CNRS, Sorbonne Universités, UPMC University Paris 06, LNE, 75014 Paris, France
Géoazur, Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur, 06905 Sophia-Antipolis CEDEX, France
Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES), 31401 Toulouse CEDEX, France
Collecte Localisation Satellites (CLS), 31520 Ramonville Saint-Agne, France
European Space Agency/European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESA/ESTEC), 2201 AZ Noordwijk, The Netherlands
European Space Agency/European Space Research Institute (ESA/ESRIN), 00044 Frascatti, Italy
HeSpace, 64293 Darmstadt, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(1), 92;
Received: 20 November 2017 / Revised: 3 January 2018 / Accepted: 10 January 2018 / Published: 11 January 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Satellite Altimetry for Earth Sciences)
Initially developed to monitor the performance of TOPEX/Poseidon and to follow the Jason legacy satellite altimeters at Senetosa Cape, Corsica, this calibration/validation site has been extended to include a new location at Ajaccio. This addition enables the site to monitor Envisat and ERS missions, CryoSat-2 and, more recently, the SARAL/AltiKa mission and Sentinel-3A satellites. Sentinel-3A and CryoSat-2 carry altimeters that use a synthetic aperture radar (SAR) mode that is different to the conventional pulse-bandwidth limited altimeters often termed “low resolution mode” (LRM). The aim of this study is to characterize the sea surface height (SSH) bias of the new SAR altimeter instruments and to demonstrate the improvement of data quality close to the coast. Moreover, some passes of Sentinel-3A and CryoSat-2 overfly both Senetosa and Ajaccio with only a few seconds time difference, allowing us to evaluate the reliability and homogeneity of both ground sites in term of geodetic datum. The Sentinel-3A and CryoSat-2 SSH biases for the SAR mode are respectively +22 ± 7 mm and −73 ± 5 mm (for CryoSat-2 baseline C products). The results show that the stability of the SAR SSH bias time series is better than standard LRM altimetry. Moreover, compared to standard LRM data, for which the measurements closer than ~10 km from the coast were generally unusable, SAR mode altimeters provide measurements that are reliable at less than few hundred meters from the coast. View Full-Text
Keywords: altimetry; SAR; calibration; validation altimetry; SAR; calibration; validation
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Bonnefond, P.; Laurain, O.; Exertier, P.; Boy, F.; Guinle, T.; Picot, N.; Labroue, S.; Raynal, M.; Donlon, C.; Féménias, P.; Parrinello, T.; Dinardo, S. Calibrating the SAR SSH of Sentinel-3A and CryoSat-2 over the Corsica Facilities. Remote Sens. 2018, 10, 92.

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