Retracking of SARAL/AltiKa Radar Altimetry Waveforms for Optimal Gravity Field Recovery

TitleRetracking of SARAL/AltiKa Radar Altimetry Waveforms for Optimal Gravity Field Recovery
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsZhang S.J, Sandwell DT
JournalMarine Geodesy
Date Published2017/02
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number0149-0419
Accession NumberWOS:000396540100003
Keywordsaltika; anomalies; coastal; CryoSat-2; ers-1; geosat; Gravity field; ice-sheet; noise level; performance; resolution; SARAL/AltiKa; satellite altimetry; waveform retracking

The accuracy of the marine gravity field derived from satellite altimetry depends on dense track spacing as well as high range precision. Here, we investigate the range precision that can be achieved using a new shorter wavelength Ka-band altimeter AltiKa aboard the SARAL spacecraft. We agree with a previous study that found that the range precision given in the SARAL/AltiKa Geophysical Data Records is more precise than that of Ku-band altimeter by a factor of two. Moreover, we show that two-pass retracking can further improve the range precision by a factor of 1.7 with respect to the 40 Hz-retracked data (item of range_40 hz) provided in the Geophysical Data Records. The important conclusion is that a dedicated Ka-band altimeter-mapping mission could substantially improve the global accuracy of the marine gravity field with complete coverage and a track spacing of <6 km achievable in similar to 1.3 years. This would reveal thousands of uncharted seamounts on the ocean floor as well as important tectonic features such as microplates and abyssal hill fabric.

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