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Sea Level Mapped From Space With GPS Reflections

22.02.2016 18:50 Age: 2 yrs

Sea surface height has been measured from space using GPS signals reflected off the sea surface for the first time

Click to enlarge. The GNSS-R principle (illustration by Paolo Cipollini from the NOC). Courtesy: NOC.

From the National Oceanography Centre


An analysis of spaceborne Global Positioning System reflectometry (GPS-R) data from the TechDemoSat-1 (TDS-1) satellite is carried out to image the ocean sea surface height (SSH). An SSH estimation algorithm is applied to GPS-R delay waveforms over two regions in the South Atlantic and the North Pacific. Estimates made from TDS-1 overpasses during a 6 month period are aggregated to produce SSH maps of the two regions. The maps generally agree with the global DTU10 mean sea surface height. The GPS-R instrument is designed to make bistatic measurements of radar cross section for ocean wind observations, and its altimetric performance is not optimized. The differences observed between measured and DTU10 SSH can be attributed to limitations with the GPS-R instrument and the lack of precision orbit determination by the TDS-1 platform. These results represent the first observations of SSH by a spaceborne GPS-R instrument.


First spaceborne observation of sea surface height using GPS-Reflectometry, by Clarizia, M. P., C. Ruf, P. Cipollini, and C. Zuffada published in Geophysical Research Letters, doi:10.1002/2015GL066624.

Read he abstract and get the paper here.


NOC news release here.