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A spectral optimally interpolated mean sea surface from satellite radar altimetry

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Philip Moore


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A technique is presented for the development of a high-precision and high-resolution mean sea surface model utilising radar altimetric sea surface heights extracted from the geodetic phase of the European Space Agency (ESA) ERS-1 mission. The methodology uses a cubic-spline fit of dual ERS-1 and TOPEX crossovers for the minimisation of radial orbit error. Fourier domain processing techniques are used for spectral optimal interpolation of the mean sea surface in order to reduce residual errors within the initial model. The EGM96 gravity field and sea surface topography models are used as reference fields as part of the determination of spectral components required for the optimal interpolation algorithm. A comparison between the final model and 10 cycles of TOPEX sea surface heights shows differences of between 12.3 and 13.8 cm root mean square (RMS). An un-optimally interpolated surface comparison with TOPEX data gave differences of between 15.7 and 16.2 cm RMS. The methodology results in an approximately 10-cm improvement in accuracy. Further improvement will be attained with the inclusion of stacked altimetry from both current and future missions.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Cullen RA, Moore P

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Geodesy

Year: 2001

Volume: 75

Issue: 4

Pages: 188-198

ISSN (print): 0949-7714

ISSN (electronic): 1432-1394

Publisher: Springer


DOI: 10.1007/s001900100160


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