The significant wave height (SWH) of the sea is an important parameter and plays an important role in the prediction of waves and ocean dynamics. However, traditional methods, e.g., buoys or traditional remote sensing techniques such as X-band radar image have small measurement range and high cost. Recently, Global Navigation Satellite System-Reflectometry (GNSS-R) has provided a new opportunity to estimate the SWH, especially the space-borne Cyclone-GNSS (CYGNSS) launched on December 15, 2016. The GNSS-R uses the GNSS-reflected signal received by the receiver to invert ground physical parameters with all-weather, global fast coverage, high resolution, high precision, high long-term stability, rich signal sources, passive detection, and strong concealment. In this paper, the global ocean significant wave height is estimated using space-borne CYGNSS GNSS-R data for the first time though the relationship between the square root of the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) data of CYGNSS delayed Doppler map (DDM) and the SWH. Then, the estimated significant wave height is compared with the satellite altimeter and buoy data. Compared with the AVISO SWH observation, the standard deviation value reaches 0.3080 m and the correlation coefficient reaches 0.9473 m. The correlation coefficient with the buoy SWH observation is 0.9539 m and the standard deviation is 0.2761 m. The SWH estimations from CYGNSS can provide important support in ocean shipping development, marine environmental protection, marine disaster warning and forecasting.
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