Performances study of interferometric radar altimeters: from the instrument to the global mission definition

Type Article
Date 2006-03
Language English
Author(s) Enjolras Vivien2, Vincent Patrick3, Souyris Jean-Claude1, Rodriguez Ernesto4, Phalippou Laurent5, Cazenave Anny1, 2
Affiliation(s) 1 : Ctr Natl Etud Spatiales, F-31055 Toulouse 4, France.
2 : LEGOS, F-31400 Toulouse, France.
3 : IFREMER, F-92138 Issy Les Moulineaux, France.
4 : JPL, Pasadena, CA 91109 USA.
5 : ALCATEL SPACE, F-31000 Toulouse, France.
Source Sensors (1424-8220) (Mdpi Ag), 2006-03 , Vol. 6 , N. 3 , P. 164-192
DOI 10.3390/s6030164
WOS© Times Cited 25
Note Special Issue on “Satellite Altimetry: New Sensors and New Application” Edited by Ge Chen and Graham D. Quartly
Keyword(s) altimetry, interferometry, error budget, system analysis, ocean, mesoscale
Abstract The main limitations of standard nadir-looking radar altimeters have been known for long. They include the lack of coverage (intertrack distance of typically 150 km for the T/P / Jason tandem), and the spatial resolution ( typically 2 km for T/P and Jason), expected to be a limiting factor for the determination of mesoscale phenomena in deep ocean. In this context, various solutions using off-nadir radar interferometry have been proposed by Rodriguez and al to give an answer to oceanographic mission objectives. This paper addresses the performances study of this new generation of instruments, and dedicated mission. A first approach is based on the Wide-Swath Ocean Altimeter (WSOA) intended to be implemented onboard Jason-2 in 2004 but now abandoned. Every error domain has been checked: the physics of the measurement, its geometry, the impact of the platform and external errors like the tropospheric and ionospheric delays. We have especially shown the strong need to move to a sun-synchronous orbit and the non-negligible impact of propagation media errors in the swath, reaching a few centimetres in the worst case. Some changes in the parameters of the instrument have also been discussed to improve the overall error budget. The outcomes have led to the definition and the optimization of such an instrument and its dedicated mission.
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Enjolras Vivien, Vincent Patrick, Souyris Jean-Claude, Rodriguez Ernesto, Phalippou Laurent, Cazenave Anny (2006). Performances study of interferometric radar altimeters: from the instrument to the global mission definition. Sensors, 6(3), 164-192. Publisher's official version : , Open Access version :