Satellite Altimetry. Wolfgang Bosch Deutsches Geodätisches Forschungsinstitut (DGFI), München

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1 Satellite Altimetry Wolfgang Bosch Deutsches Geodätisches Forschungsinstitut (DGFI), München

2 Objectives You shall recognize satellite altimetry as an operational remote sensing technique with important applications in geodesy, oceanography and other geosciences In particular: become known with the observation technique and the necessary measurement corrections get informed about current and future satellite altimeter missions, the data and their providers and the products become introduced to the most important analysis methods get an overview to geophysical application of satellite altimetry W. Bosch - Satellite Altimetry, ESPACE,

3 What is Satellite Altimetry? Satellite based radar technique for sea surface monitoring Radar sensor transmitting frequency modulated pulses of a few nanoseconds duration with a carrier frequency of GHz (Ku-band) and a pulse repetition frequency (PRF) of about 1KHz The pulse is reflected at the sea surface and backscattered acoording to wind and waves and - after a few milli-seconds - received by the altimeter antenna The pulse echo is sampled and fitted to a theoretical impulse response adjusting three essential parameters: round trip travel time slope of the leading edge of the returned echo energy of the impulse response W. Bosch - Satellite Altimetry, ESPACE,

4 Measurement Principle How does it work the radar system? What get we out of the system?

5 Principle of Satellite Altimetry Typical Characteristics: Carrier frequency Pulse duration Pulse travel time Pulse repetition Averaging Satellite height Radius of footprint Ground velocity 13.5 GHz 12.5 nsec 5 msec 1000Hz 0,05 sec 800km 2-11 km 6,7 km/sec Analysis of the Radar Echo: - Travel time distance to sea level - Slope significant wave height - Energy Wind velocity W. Bosch - Satellite Altimetry, ESPACE,

6 Altimeter Signal Footprint development Idealized return echo round trip travel time (half power point) height above sea level slope of leading edge significant wave height energy balance backscatter coefficient wind speed W. Bosch - Satellite Altimetry, ESPACE,

7 Significant Waveheight (observed by ERS2) W. Bosch - Satellite Altimetry, ESPACE,

8 Corrections for altimeter range measurements orbit error (radial component) instrumental effects electronic time delay clock (oscillator) drift offset antenna phase centre centre of gravity time tagging of observations doppler shift error atmospheric refraction due to ionosphere troposphere, dry component troposphere, wet component target (ocean surface) ocean tides, loading effects, Earth tides, pole tide electromagnetic bias (sea state) inverted barometer effect W. Bosch - Satellite Altimetry, ESPACE,

9 Altimeter height precision history W. Bosch - Satellite Altimetry, ESPACE,

10 Altimeter Mission Design Orbit configuration Sampling Characteristic

11 TOPEX/Poseidon Most sucessfull altimeter mission ever about 13 years operation 9,9516 repeat cycle Ground track distance 311km Precise orbits through Laser, DORIS and GPS First two frequency altimeter sensor Continuous calibration Latitude coverage ±66.0 Follow-on mission: Jason1 W. Bosch - Satellite Altimetry, ESPACE,

12 ENVISAT Operated by ESA Largest and most complex environmental satellite In operation since March day repeat cycle Ground track distance 80km Latitude range ± 81.5 Two frequency altimeter sensor Automatic tracking mode switching allows observation over lakes, rivers, ice, and land W. Bosch - Satellite Altimetry, ESPACE,

13 Altimeter mission history W. Bosch - Satellite Altimetry, ESPACE,

14 Radar Altimeters: Now and Then Medium accuracy SSH from high-inclination HY-2A China HY-2B, -2C, -2D ERS-2 ESA ENVISAT ESA Saral/AltiKa India/France Sentinel-3A Europe Sentinel-3B, -3C, -3D GFO Swath altimetry CRYOSAT-2 ESA GFO-FO US Navy SWOT/WaTER-HM USA/Europe TBD High accuracy SSH from mid-inclination orbit Jason-CS successor Europe/USA Jason-1 Fr./USA Jason-3 Europe/USA Jason-2 Europe/USA Jason-CS/Jason-4 Europe/USA In orbit Coastal Planned/Proposed/Pending Needed W. Bosch - Satellite Altimetry, ESPACE, Adapted from CNES, 2009, with acknowledgement

15 Altimetry missions main characteristics W. Bosch - Satellite Altimetry, ESPACE,

16 CryoSat-2 Objectives thickness of land ice and sea ice melting of the polar ice Sea level rise Launch Apr Orbit Inclination I = 92 Mean height 717 km Repeat cycle 369 days (30 d sub cycle) 7.5 km track separation Measurement modes Ku-band only, no radiometer LRM pulse limited Delay Doppler Interferometric SAR mode W. Bosch - Satellite Altimetry, ESPACE,

17 SARAL/Altika W. Bosch - Satellite Altimetry, ESPACE,

18 HY-2A (China) W. Bosch - Satellite Altimetry, ESPACE,

19 Sentinel-3 (ESA) W. Bosch - Satellite Altimetry, ESPACE,

20 W. Bosch - Satellite Altimetry, ESPACE, Polar ground track pattern

21 Orbit configuration The energy limits of the radar system require satellite heights between 500 and 1500 km High orbits are less affected by air drag (TOPEX/Poseidon and Jason1 are at 1336km height others at 800km heights) Small excentricities shall provide everywhere same precision Inclination determines the latitudal coverage Repeatibility is choosen to get reliable time series over the same ground track Short repeatibility and high spatial resolution exclude each other (due to orbit dynamics) W. Bosch - Satellite Altimetry, ESPACE,

22 Repeat Cycles(1) ERS-1 Multi-disciplinary mission; many different requirements for the core instruments (SAR, Radiometer) Compromise: different mission phases with specific repeat cycles Phase A: commissioning phase, 35 day repeat Phase B: ice phase, 3 day repeat Phase C: first interdisciplinary phase, 35 day repeat Phase D: second ice phase, 3 day repeat Phase E: first geodetic phase, 168 day repeat Phase F: second geodetic phase, 168 day repeat Phase G: second interdisciplinary phase, 35 day repeat ERS-2 and ENVISAT were kept in a 35 day repeat, over the same ground track as ERS-1, phase A, C ERS-1, ERS-2 and ENVISAT orbits are sunsynchronous: measurements at one point are always taken at the same local time W. Bosch - Satellite Altimetry, ESPACE,

23 Repeat Cycle (2) TOPEX/Poseidon (and Jason-1) was given a 10 day repeat (310km equatorial track spacing) Jason-1 continues over the ground track of TOPEX/Poseidon while TOPEX/Poseidon was shifted to double the spatial sampling Geosat had first a geodetic mission (GM) phase with a non repeating ground track. Then it was operated in a 17 day exact repeat cycle (ERM); GFO continues the ERM repeat over the same ground track. W. Bosch - Satellite Altimetry, ESPACE,

24 Ground tracks of TOPEX/Poseidon & Jason1 Repeated every 10 days W. Bosch - Satellite Altimetry, ESPACE,

25 Repeated tracks of Jason1/TOPEX (10), GFO (17), ERS/ENVISAT(35) W. Bosch - Satellite Altimetry, ESPACE,

26 Observations of geodetic phases of ERS-1 & Geosat with repeat tracks W. Bosch - Satellite Altimetry, ESPACE,

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