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Open AccessLetter

Sea State Bias Variability in Satellite Altimetry Data

1,2, 3, 4,5, 4,5,*, 6 and 6
College of Marine Sciences, Shanghai Ocean University, Shanghai 201306, China
Shenzhen AeroImgInfo Technology Co., Ltd., Shenzhen 518000, China
College of Oceanography, Hohai University, Nanjing 210098, China
CAS Key Laboratory of Ocean Circulation and Waves, Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Qingdao 266071, China
Center for Ocean Mega-Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Qingdao 266071, China
National Satellite Ocean Application Service (NSOAS), Key Laboratory of Space Ocean Remote Sensing and Application, State Oceanic Administration, Beijing 100081, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(10), 1176;
Received: 21 March 2019 / Revised: 20 April 2019 / Accepted: 7 May 2019 / Published: 17 May 2019
PDF [6192 KB, uploaded 17 May 2019]


Sea State Bias (SSB) contributes to global mean sea level variability and it needs cm-level range adjustment due to the instrumental drift over time. To investigate its variations and correct the global and regional sea level trend precisely, we calculate the temporal and spatial variability of the SSB correction in TOPEX, Jason-1, Jason-2 and Jason-3 missions, separately, as well as in the combined missions over the period 1993–2017. The long-term trend in global mean operational 2D non-parametric SSB correction is about −0.03 ± 0.03 mm/yr, which accounts for 1% of current global mean sea level change rate during 1993–2016. This correction contributes to sea level change rates of −1.27 ± 0.21 mm/yr and −0.26 ± 0.13 mm/yr in TOPEX-A and Jason-2 missions, respectively. The global mean SSB varies up to 7–10 mm during the very strong ENSO events in 1997–1998 and 2015–2016. Furthermore, the TOPEX SSB trend, which is consistent with recently reported sea level trend drift during 1993–1998, may leak into the determined global sea level trend in the period. Moreover, the Jason-1/2 zonal SSB variability is highly correlated with the significant wave height (SWH). On zonal average, SSB correction causes about 1% uncertainty in mean sea level trend. At high SWH regions, the uncertainties grow to 2–4% near the 50°N and 60°S bands. This should be considered in the study of regional sea level variability. View Full-Text
Keywords: sea state bias; sea level; significant wave height sea state bias; sea level; significant wave height

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Cheng, Y.; Xu, Q.; Gao, L.; Li, X.; Zou, B.; Liu, T. Sea State Bias Variability in Satellite Altimetry Data. Remote Sens. 2019, 11, 1176.

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