Abstract's details

Comparison of Jason-2/OSTM, SARAL, and ICESat-1 instrument performance with relevance to research/operational programs focussed on continental waters.

Charon Birkett (University of Maryland, United States)


Bjerklie David (USGS, USA); Carabajal Claudia (SGT at NASA/GSFC, USA); Brian Beckley (SGT at NASA/GSFC, USA); Yang Xu (Hunter) (SGT at NASA/GSFC, USA); Reynolds Curt (USDA/FAS/OGA, USA)

Event: 2014 Ocean Surface Topography Science Team Meeting

Session: Science Results from Satellite Altimetry: Inland waters (multi-mission and long-term monitoring)

Presentation type: Type Poster

Contribution: PDF file


Standard radar altimetry is applying itself to a number of research and operational-based programs that focus on lakes, reservoirs, river channels and wetland zones. With several decades of surface water level estimates, seasonal and inter-annual variations are being exploited for agriculture and climate analysis. The changes in water heights detected by radar are also used directly as an indicator of hydrologic flux, and are used as input to various algorithms that provide secondary data products including river flow and changes in water storage. Enhanced radar altimetry and laser altimetry (such as SARAL, Cryosat-2, ICESat-1) offers improvements in spatial resolution and accuracy, and multiple data sets allow for cross-validations. Here, we re-examine the performance of the Jason-3 and GLAS altimeters, and compare it to the performance of the AltiKa altimeter with relevance to on-going research and operational programs. Focus is on target acquisition times and elevation accuracy, and the merits of combining data sets. Regions of study include the Yukon River, the Usangu wetlands, and various small lakes, reservoirs and irrigation enclosures around the globe. Applications are both national and international with basin hydrology, conservation of ecosystems, and water resources interests and objectives.
Charon Birkett
University of Maryland
United States