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First Calibration Results for the SARAL/AltiKa Altimetric Mission Using the Gavdos Permanent Facilities

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This work presents the first calibration results for the SARAL/AltiKa altimetric mission using the Gavdos permanent calibration facilities. The results cover one year of altimetric observations from April 2013 to March 2014 and include 11 calibration values for the altimeter bias. The reference ascending orbit No. 571 of SARAL/AltiKa has been used for this altimeter assessment. This satellite pass is coming from south and nears Gavdos, where it finally passes through its west coastal tip, only 6 km off the main calibration location. The selected calibration regions in the south sea of Gavdos range from about 8 km to 20 km south off the point of closest approach. Several reference surfaces have been chosen for this altimeter evaluation based on gravimetric, but detailed regional geoid, as well as combination of it with other altimetric models.

Based on these observations and the gravimetric geoid model, the altimeter bias for the SARAL/AltiKa is determined as mean value of −46mm ±10mm, and a median of −42 mm ±10 mm, using GDR-T data at 40 Hz rate. A preliminary cross-over analysis of the sea surface heights at a location south of Gavdos showed that SARAL/AltiKa measure less than Jason-2 by 4.6 cm. These bias values are consistent with those provided by Corsica, Harvest, and Karavatti Cal/Val sites. The wet troposphere and the ionosphere delay values of satellite altimetric measurements are also compared against in-situ observations (−5 mm difference in wet troposphere and almost the same for the ionosphere) determined by a local array of permanent GNSS receivers, and meteorological sensors.
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Keywords: Altimeter calibration; satellite altimetry; sea surface height

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Technical University of Crete, Geodesy and Geomatics Engineering Lab, Mineral Resources Engineering Department, Chania, Greece 2: Space Geomatica Ltd., Chania, Greece 3: Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Surveying Engineering, Thessaloniki, Greece

Publication date: September 10, 2015

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