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Frequently asked questions

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Does sea state influence the measurement of the satellite-sea surface range?

Sea state influences the measurement of the satellite-sea surface range because the altimeter is sensitive to sea surface elements perpendicular to the target line. These elements are more frequently in the wave trough than in the crest, so the mean height of these elements doesn't match the geometric mean height of all sea surface elements that make the mean sea level (electromagnetic bias). In this way, the altimetric-measured mean is shifted toward wave trough, and moreover if waves are high.

 

Category: Altimetry
About the radiometer, how brightness temperature is defined, and why 3 frequencies are used?

The brigthness temperature of a surface is equal to the product of the emissivity of this surface by its physical temperature.
The radiation measured by the radiometer depends on the ocean surface emissivity, its physical temperature and water vapour and cloud absorption in the atmosphere. If you want to know precisely the atmospheric water vapour contents, you have to substract surface and cloud contribution from the signal received by the radiometer. That's why several frequencies (3 in most cases) are used, each one being more sensitive than the other to one of these contributions. By combining measurements done at each frequencies, you can extract the water vapor signal.

Category: Altimetry
What are the differences between ADT and SLA products?

Absolute Dynamic Topography (ADT) and Sea Level Anomaly (SLA) are defined by:
ADT=MDT+SLA
where MDT is Mean Dynamic Topography.

Category: Altimetry
What is the difference between SSH and ADT?

SSH is what the altimeter system measures, and the quantity from which everything else is deduced (with also some in situ data for the MDT).
SSH = (satellite altitude with respect to reference ellipsoid) - (satellite-to-surface distance)
(see altimetry pages)
Thus, in altimetry (it's not the case in all oceanography), SSH can be defined as the sea surface height with respect to the reference ellipsoid, which means that, compared to ADT, there's also the geoid height in it.
You can say that : SSH = SLA + MDT + geoid = ADT + geoid
with SLA computed from SSH and a mean sea surface over several years

Category: Altimetry

Data and processing questions

/

Does sea state influence the measurement of the satellite-sea surface range?

Sea state influences the measurement of the satellite-sea surface range because the altimeter is sensitive to sea surface elements perpendicular to the target line. These elements are more frequently in the wave trough than in the crest, so the mean height of these elements doesn't match the geometric mean height of all sea surface elements that make the mean sea level (electromagnetic bias). In this way, the altimetric-measured mean is shifted toward wave trough, and moreover if waves are high.

 

Category: Altimetry
About the radiometer, how brightness temperature is defined, and why 3 frequencies are used?

The brigthness temperature of a surface is equal to the product of the emissivity of this surface by its physical temperature.
The radiation measured by the radiometer depends on the ocean surface emissivity, its physical temperature and water vapour and cloud absorption in the atmosphere. If you want to know precisely the atmospheric water vapour contents, you have to substract surface and cloud contribution from the signal received by the radiometer. That's why several frequencies (3 in most cases) are used, each one being more sensitive than the other to one of these contributions. By combining measurements done at each frequencies, you can extract the water vapor signal.

Category: Altimetry
What are the differences between ADT and SLA products?

Absolute Dynamic Topography (ADT) and Sea Level Anomaly (SLA) are defined by:
ADT=MDT+SLA
where MDT is Mean Dynamic Topography.

Category: Altimetry
What is the difference between SSH and ADT?

SSH is what the altimeter system measures, and the quantity from which everything else is deduced (with also some in situ data for the MDT).
SSH = (satellite altitude with respect to reference ellipsoid) - (satellite-to-surface distance)
(see altimetry pages)
Thus, in altimetry (it's not the case in all oceanography), SSH can be defined as the sea surface height with respect to the reference ellipsoid, which means that, compared to ADT, there's also the geoid height in it.
You can say that : SSH = SLA + MDT + geoid = ADT + geoid
with SLA computed from SSH and a mean sea surface over several years

Category: Altimetry

Altimetry questions

/

Does sea state influence the measurement of the satellite-sea surface range?

Sea state influences the measurement of the satellite-sea surface range because the altimeter is sensitive to sea surface elements perpendicular to the target line. These elements are more frequently in the wave trough than in the crest, so the mean height of these elements doesn't match the geometric mean height of all sea surface elements that make the mean sea level (electromagnetic bias). In this way, the altimetric-measured mean is shifted toward wave trough, and moreover if waves are high.

 

Category: Altimetry
About the radiometer, how brightness temperature is defined, and why 3 frequencies are used?

The brigthness temperature of a surface is equal to the product of the emissivity of this surface by its physical temperature.
The radiation measured by the radiometer depends on the ocean surface emissivity, its physical temperature and water vapour and cloud absorption in the atmosphere. If you want to know precisely the atmospheric water vapour contents, you have to substract surface and cloud contribution from the signal received by the radiometer. That's why several frequencies (3 in most cases) are used, each one being more sensitive than the other to one of these contributions. By combining measurements done at each frequencies, you can extract the water vapor signal.

Category: Altimetry
What are the differences between ADT and SLA products?

Absolute Dynamic Topography (ADT) and Sea Level Anomaly (SLA) are defined by:
ADT=MDT+SLA
where MDT is Mean Dynamic Topography.

Category: Altimetry
What is the difference between SSH and ADT?

SSH is what the altimeter system measures, and the quantity from which everything else is deduced (with also some in situ data for the MDT).
SSH = (satellite altitude with respect to reference ellipsoid) - (satellite-to-surface distance)
(see altimetry pages)
Thus, in altimetry (it's not the case in all oceanography), SSH can be defined as the sea surface height with respect to the reference ellipsoid, which means that, compared to ADT, there's also the geoid height in it.
You can say that : SSH = SLA + MDT + geoid = ADT + geoid
with SLA computed from SSH and a mean sea surface over several years

Category: Altimetry

Applications questions

/

Does sea state influence the measurement of the satellite-sea surface range?

Sea state influences the measurement of the satellite-sea surface range because the altimeter is sensitive to sea surface elements perpendicular to the target line. These elements are more frequently in the wave trough than in the crest, so the mean height of these elements doesn't match the geometric mean height of all sea surface elements that make the mean sea level (electromagnetic bias). In this way, the altimetric-measured mean is shifted toward wave trough, and moreover if waves are high.

 

Category: Altimetry
About the radiometer, how brightness temperature is defined, and why 3 frequencies are used?

The brigthness temperature of a surface is equal to the product of the emissivity of this surface by its physical temperature.
The radiation measured by the radiometer depends on the ocean surface emissivity, its physical temperature and water vapour and cloud absorption in the atmosphere. If you want to know precisely the atmospheric water vapour contents, you have to substract surface and cloud contribution from the signal received by the radiometer. That's why several frequencies (3 in most cases) are used, each one being more sensitive than the other to one of these contributions. By combining measurements done at each frequencies, you can extract the water vapor signal.

Category: Altimetry
What are the differences between ADT and SLA products?

Absolute Dynamic Topography (ADT) and Sea Level Anomaly (SLA) are defined by:
ADT=MDT+SLA
where MDT is Mean Dynamic Topography.

Category: Altimetry
What is the difference between SSH and ADT?

SSH is what the altimeter system measures, and the quantity from which everything else is deduced (with also some in situ data for the MDT).
SSH = (satellite altitude with respect to reference ellipsoid) - (satellite-to-surface distance)
(see altimetry pages)
Thus, in altimetry (it's not the case in all oceanography), SSH can be defined as the sea surface height with respect to the reference ellipsoid, which means that, compared to ADT, there's also the geoid height in it.
You can say that : SSH = SLA + MDT + geoid = ADT + geoid
with SLA computed from SSH and a mean sea surface over several years

Category: Altimetry

Doris questions

/

Does sea state influence the measurement of the satellite-sea surface range?

Sea state influences the measurement of the satellite-sea surface range because the altimeter is sensitive to sea surface elements perpendicular to the target line. These elements are more frequently in the wave trough than in the crest, so the mean height of these elements doesn't match the geometric mean height of all sea surface elements that make the mean sea level (electromagnetic bias). In this way, the altimetric-measured mean is shifted toward wave trough, and moreover if waves are high.

 

Category: Altimetry
About the radiometer, how brightness temperature is defined, and why 3 frequencies are used?

The brigthness temperature of a surface is equal to the product of the emissivity of this surface by its physical temperature.
The radiation measured by the radiometer depends on the ocean surface emissivity, its physical temperature and water vapour and cloud absorption in the atmosphere. If you want to know precisely the atmospheric water vapour contents, you have to substract surface and cloud contribution from the signal received by the radiometer. That's why several frequencies (3 in most cases) are used, each one being more sensitive than the other to one of these contributions. By combining measurements done at each frequencies, you can extract the water vapor signal.

Category: Altimetry
What are the differences between ADT and SLA products?

Absolute Dynamic Topography (ADT) and Sea Level Anomaly (SLA) are defined by:
ADT=MDT+SLA
where MDT is Mean Dynamic Topography.

Category: Altimetry
What is the difference between SSH and ADT?

SSH is what the altimeter system measures, and the quantity from which everything else is deduced (with also some in situ data for the MDT).
SSH = (satellite altitude with respect to reference ellipsoid) - (satellite-to-surface distance)
(see altimetry pages)
Thus, in altimetry (it's not the case in all oceanography), SSH can be defined as the sea surface height with respect to the reference ellipsoid, which means that, compared to ADT, there's also the geoid height in it.
You can say that : SSH = SLA + MDT + geoid = ADT + geoid
with SLA computed from SSH and a mean sea surface over several years

Category: Altimetry

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