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Open AccessArticle

The Roles of the S3MPC: Monitoring, Validation and Evolution of Sentinel-3 Altimetry Observations

Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Prospect Place, The Hoe, Plymouth PL1 3DH, Devon, UK
Collecte Localisation Satellites (CLS), 31520 Ramonville Saint-Agne, France
SYRTE, Observatoire de Paris, PSL Research University, CNRS, Sorbonne Universités, UPMC University Paris 06, 77 Avenue Denfert Rochereau, 75014 Paris, France
isardSAT, Parc Tecnològic Barcelona Activa, Carrer de Marie Curie 8, 08042 Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
CNES/LEGOS, 14 Avenue Edouard Belin, 31400 Toulouse, France
Noveltis, 153, rue du Lac, F-31670 Labège, France
Mullard Space Science Laboratory, University College London, Holmbury Hill Rd, Dorking RH5 6NT, Surry, UK
Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University, Bailrigg, Lancaster LA1 4YQ, Lancs, UK
European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, Shinfield Rd, Reading RG2 9AX, UK
LEGOS, 14 Avenue Edouard Belin, 31400 Toulouse, France
Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur, Université de la Côte d’Azur, CNRS, IRD, Géoazur, 250 rue Albert Einstein, Sophia Antipolis, 06560 Valbonne, France
ACRI-ST, 5 Esplanade Compans Caffarelli, 31000 Toulouse, France
European Space Agency (ESA), Largo Galileo Galilei 1, 00044 Frascati, Italy
European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT), Eumetsat Allee 1, D-64295 Darmstadt, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(11), 1763;
Received: 24 April 2020 / Revised: 19 May 2020 / Accepted: 26 May 2020 / Published: 29 May 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Calibration and Validation of Satellite Altimetry)
The Sentinel-3 Mission Performance Centre (S3MPC) is tasked by the European Space Agency (ESA) to monitor the health of the Copernicus Sentinel-3 satellites and ensure a high data quality to the users. This paper deals exclusively with the effort devoted to the altimeter and microwave radiometer, both components of the Surface Topography Mission (STM). The altimeters on Sentinel-3A and -3B are the first to operate in delay-Doppler or SAR mode over all Earth surfaces, which enables better spatial resolution of the signal in the along-track direction and improved noise reduction through multi-looking, whilst the radiometer is a two-channel nadir-viewing system. There are regular routine assessments of the instruments through investigation of telemetered housekeeping data, calibrations over selected sites and comparisons of geophysical retrievals with models, in situ data and other satellite systems. These are performed both to monitor the daily production, assessing the uncertainties and errors on the estimates, and also to characterize the long-term performance for climate science applications. This is critical because an undetected drift in performance could be misconstrued as a climate variation. As the data are used by the Copernicus Services (e.g., CMEMS, Global Land Monitoring Services) and by the research community over open ocean, coastal waters, sea ice, land ice, rivers and lakes, the validation activities encompass all these domains, with regular reports openly available. The S3MPC is also in charge of preparing improvements to the processing, and of the development and tuning of algorithms to improve their accuracy. This paper is thus the first refereed publication to bring together the analysis of SAR altimetry across all these different domains to highlight the benefits and existing challenges. View Full-Text
Keywords: altimeter; calibration; validation; Copernicus/Sentinel-3; microwave radiometer; ocean; coastal zone; cryosphere; radar transponders; model comparison; buoys altimeter; calibration; validation; Copernicus/Sentinel-3; microwave radiometer; ocean; coastal zone; cryosphere; radar transponders; model comparison; buoys
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Quartly, G.D.; Nencioli, F.; Raynal, M.; Bonnefond, P.; Nilo Garcia, P.; Garcia-Mondéjar, A.; Flores de la Cruz, A.; Crétaux, J.-F.; Taburet, N.; Frery, M.-L.; Cancet, M.; Muir, A.; Brockley, D.; McMillan, M.; Abdalla, S.; Fleury, S.; Cadier, E.; Gao, Q.; Escorihuela, M.J.; Roca, M.; Bergé-Nguyen, M.; Laurain, O.; Bruniquel, J.; Féménias, P.; Lucas, B. The Roles of the S3MPC: Monitoring, Validation and Evolution of Sentinel-3 Altimetry Observations. Remote Sens. 2020, 12, 1763.

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