Over the last few decades, satellite altimetry has proven to be valuable for monitoring lake levels. With the new generation of altimetry missions, CryoSat-2 and Sentinel-3, which operate in Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) and SAR Interferometric (SARIn) modes, the footprint size is reduced to approximately 300 m in the along-track direction. Here, the performance of these new modes is investigated in terms of uncertainty of the estimated water level from CryoSat-2 data and the agreement with in situ data. The data quality is compared to conventional low resolution mode (LRM) altimetry products from Envisat, and the performance as a function of the lake area is tested. Based on a sample of 145 lakes with areas ranging from a few to several thousand
, the CryoSat-2 results show an overall superior performance. For lakes with an area below 100
, the uncertainty of the lake levels is only half of that of the Envisat results. Generally, the CryoSat-2 lake levels also show a better agreement with the in situ data. The lower uncertainty of the CryoSat-2 results entails a more detailed description of water level variations.
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