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Space altimetry

by LEGOS last modified Feb 04, 2014 10:40 AM
Space altimetry

Development of satellite altimetry started at the end of the 1970s with the Geos 3 (1975), Seasat (1978) and Geosat (1985-1989) missions. Most of the studies based on these missions have focused on high-resolution mapping of the marine geoid and applications in marine geophysics (structure of the oceanic lithosphere, upper mantle convection, etc.). During the 1990s, the first oceanographic applications of altimetry were developed through the Franco-American Topex-Poseidon (1992-2006) and Jason-1 (2001-) missions, as well as the European ERS-1 (1991-1996), ERS-2 (1995-) and ENVISAT (2002-) missions.

For the latter missions, spectacular improvements in precision of instantaneous sea surface height measurements have been achieved by reducing orbital errors and improving geophysical and environmental corrections. New applications of satellite altimetry involve accurate measurement of mean global sea level change, as well as water level change of terrestrial surface waters. (See sea level).

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