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Initial Examination of AltiKa's Individual Echoes

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The AltiKa altimeter records the reflection of Ka-band radar pulses from the Earth's surface, with the commonly used waveform product involving the summation of 96 returns to provide average echoes at 40 Hz. Occasionally there are one-second recordings of the complex individual echoes (IEs), which facilitate the evaluation of on-board processing and offer the potential for new processing strategies. Our investigation of these IEs over the ocean confirms the on-board operations, whilst noting that data quantization limits the accuracy in the thermal noise region. By constructing average waveforms from 32 IEs at a time, and applying an innovative subwaveform retracker, we demonstrate that accurate height and wave height information can be retrieved from very short sections of data. Early exploration of the complex echoes reveals structure in the phase information similar to that noted for Envisat's IEs.
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Keywords: Ka-band; Keywords AltiKa altimeter; coherence; individual echoes; phase analysis; retracking; waveforms

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Devon, UK 2: Graduate School, National Oceanography Center Southampton (GSNOCS), University of Southampton, Southampton, UK

Publication date: September 10, 2015

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