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Evolution of Altimetry Calibration and Future ChallengesOver the past 20 years, altimetry calibration has evolved from an engineering-oriented exercise to a multidisciplinary endeavor driving the state of the art. This evolution has been spurred by the developing promise of altimetry to capture the large-scale, but small-amplitude, changes of the ocean surface containing the expression of climate change. The scope of altimeter calibration/validation programs has expanded commensurately. Early efforts focused on determining a constant range bias and verifying basic compliance of the data products with mission requirements. Contemporary investigations capture, with increasing accuracies, the spatial and temporal characteristics of errors in all elements of the measurement system. Dedicated calibration sites still provide the fundamental service of estimating absolute bias, but also enable long-term monitoring of the sea-surface height and constituent measurements. The use of a network of island and coastal tide gauges has provided the best perspective on the measurement stability, and revealed temporal variations of altimeter measurement system drift. The cross-calibration between successive missions provided fundamentally new information on the performance of altimetry systems. Spatially and temporally correlated errors pose challenges for future missions, underscoring the importance of cross-calibration of new measurements against the established record.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
External Source(s)
Fu, Lee-Lueng
(Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Haines, Bruce J.
(Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Date Acquired
April 13, 2015
Publication Date
September 24, 2012
Subject Category
Meeting Information
European Space Agency, 20 Years Progress in Altimetry(Venice)
Distribution Limits
sea level

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