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SARAL/AltiKa Absolute Calibration from the Multi-Mission Corsica Facilities

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The geodetic Corsica site was set up in 1998 in order to perform altimeter calibration of the TOPEX/Poseidon (T/P) mission and subsequently, Jason-1 and OSTM/Jason-2. The scope of the site was widened in 2005 in order to undertake the calibration of the Envisat mission and most recently of SARAL/AltiKa. Here we present the first results from the latter mission using both indirect and direct calibration/validation approaches. The indirect approach utilizes a coastal tide gauge and, as a consequence, the altimeter derived sea surface height (SSH) needs to be corrected for the geoid slope. The direct approach utilizes a novel GPS-based system deployed offshore under the satellite ground track that permits a direct comparison with the altimeter derived SSH. The advantages and disadvantages of both systems (GPS-based and tide gauges) and methods (direct or indirect) will be described and discussed. Our results for O/IGD-R data show a very good consistency for these three kinds of products: their derived absolute SSH biases are consistent within 17 mm and their associated standard deviation ranges from 31 to 35 mm. The AltiKa absolute SSH bias derived from GPS-zodiac measurement using the direct method is −54 ±10 mm based on the first 13 cycles.
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Keywords: Altimeter calibration; GPS; tide gauges

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Observatoire de la Côte d'Azur–Géoazur, Valbonne, France 2: Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES), Toulouse, France 3: NOVELTIS, Labège, France 4: Laboratoire d'Etudes en Géophysique et Océanographie Spatiales (LEGOS), Toulouse, France

Publication date: September 10, 2015

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