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Journal articles

Benefits of the Open-Loop Tracking Command (OLTC): Extending conventional nadir altimetry to inland waters monitoring

Abstract : In the past 25 years, radar altimeters have been designed and operated primarily for ocean observation. However, over the past decade there has been a growing interest for altimetry measurements over inland waters. Studying lakes, reservoirs and rivers water level is of prime importance for the hydrology community to assess the Earth's global resources of fresh water.

Satellite altimetry is key to providing such global and continuous datasets of water surface height. Indeed, much progress has been made in altimeters capability to acquire quality measurements over inland waters.

In this paper we present an overview of major technical evolutions of the tracking function of altimeters, from Jason-2/POS3 and SARAL/AltiKa to Jason-3/POS3B and Sentinel-3/SRAL and the improvements brought by the Open-Loop Tracking Command (OLTC) to extend the altimeter observation domain to inland waters. The OLTC is an on-board feature used to set the altimeter waveforms reception window, containing a priori elevation information built from a dedicated database of hydrological targets. This paper focuses on the use of OLTC for acquiring reliable water signal rather than discussing the accuracy of the retrieved height, which constitutes a further step in the altimeter data processing chain.

We show how Jason-3 and Sentinel-3 altimetry missions are currently able to observe and monitor about 70,000 hydrological targets over the globe and how it is contributing in building a global dataset of inland waters level, in preparation for future missions such as Sentinel-6 and the Surface Water Ocean Topography mission (SWOT).

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Submitted on : Wednesday, May 18, 2022 - 11:57:52 AM
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Sophie Le Gac, François Boy, Denis Blumstein, Léa Lasson, Nicolas Picot. Benefits of the Open-Loop Tracking Command (OLTC): Extending conventional nadir altimetry to inland waters monitoring. Advances in Space Research, 2021, 68, pp.843-852. ⟨10.1016/j.asr.2019.10.031⟩. ⟨insu-03671334⟩



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