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The X-TRACK/ALES multi-mission processing system: New advances in altimetry towards the coast

Abstract : In the context of the ESA Climate Change Initiative project, a new coastal sea level altimetry product has been developed in order to support advances in coastal sea level variability studies. Measurements from Jason-1,2&3 missions have been retracked with the Adaptive Leading Edge Subwaveform (ALES) Retracker and then ingested in the X-TRACK software with the best possible set of altimetry corrections. These two coastal altimetry processing approaches, previously successfully validated and applied to coastal sea level research, are combined here for the first time in order to derive a 16-year-long (June 2002 to May 2018), high-resolution (20-Hz), along-track sea level dataset in six regions: Northeast Atlantic, Mediterranean Sea, West Africa, North Indian Ocean, Southeast Asia and Australia. The study demonstrates that this new coastal sea level product called X-TRACK/ALES is able to extend the spatial coverage of sea level altimetry data ~3.5 km in the land direction, when compared to the X-TRACK 1-Hz dataset. We also observe a large improvement in coastal sea level data availability from Jason-1 to Jason-3, with data at 3.6 km, 1.9 km and 0.9 km to the coast on average, for Jason-1, Jason-2 and Jason-3, respectively. When combining measurements from Jason-1 to Jason-3, we reach a distance of 1.2-4 km to the coast. When compared to tide gauge data, the accuracy of the new altimetry near-shore sea level estimations also improves. In terms of correlations with a large set of independent tide gauge observations selected in the six regions, we obtain an average value of 0.77. We also show that it is now possible to derive from the X-TRACK/ALES product an estimation of the ocean current variability up to 5 km to the coast. This new altimetry dataset, freely available, will provide a valuable contribution of altimetry in coastal marine research community.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, May 18, 2022 - 11:59:23 AM
Last modification on : Monday, July 4, 2022 - 9:45:22 AM

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Florence Birol, Fabien Léger, Marcello Passaro, Anny Cazenave, Fernando Niño, et al.. The X-TRACK/ALES multi-mission processing system: New advances in altimetry towards the coast. Advances in Space Research, 2021, 67, pp.2398-2415. ⟨10.1016/j.asr.2021.01.049⟩. ⟨insu-03671350⟩

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