Validation of CryoSat-2 SIRAL sea level data in the eastern continental shelf of the Gulf of Cadiz (Spain)

Gómez-Enri, J.; Vignudelli, S.; Cipollini, P.; Coca, J.; González, C.J.. 2018 Validation of CryoSat-2 SIRAL sea level data in the eastern continental shelf of the Gulf of Cadiz (Spain). Advances in Space Research, 62 (6). 1405-1420.

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We present the validation of sea level measurements taken over the eastern shelf of the Gulf of Cadiz (southwestern Iberian Peninsula) by the European Space Agency CryoSat-2 satellite’s SIRAL altimeter in SAR mode. Time series of sea level anomaly (SLA) at 20-Hz posting rate (corresponding to approximately 350 m along the satellite track) are compared against sea level measurements from two tide gauge stations located along the Spanish coast of the study area. Due to the long repeat cycle of CryoSat-2 (369 days), data selection is performed by including all the tracks falling in a radius of 50 km from the location of the tide gauge stations. Then, time series of SLA are formed during the observational time period (August 2010–December 2014) by taking the altimeter measurements located at growing distances from the coast (1, 3, 5, 10, 15 and 20 km) as well as around four isobaths (10, 25, 50 and 75 m). The validation of AltiKa’s SARAL altimeter 20-Hz data, using its two 35-day-repeat ground tracks available in the area is also presented. Overall, CryoSat-2 20-Hz SLAs selected in the coastal strip from 3 to 20 km agree well with data from the western station (Huelva) with rmse ranging from 11.4 to 6.4 cm. The analysis at the eastern station (Bonanza) yields rmse ranging from 16.8 to 14.6 cm. The comparisons made with CryoSat-2 20-Hz SLAs are in agreement with the rmse estimated using AltiKa 20-Hz SLAs at distances to the coast higher than 5 km, and much better in the 1–5 coastal band. The differences in quantity of SAR mode data observed at the two stations and in their agreement with the tide gauges can be explained by (1) the more complex coastal morphology around Bonanza station with the altimetry tracks almost parallel to the coast; (2) the noisier hydrodynamics around Bonanza station due to the presence of the estuary mouth of the Guadalquivir River; and (3) residual (uncorrected) tidal signals in the Bonanza gauge record. We conclude that the quality of SAR altimetry is comparable or even slightly better than conventional altimetry, thus qualifying SAR data for exploitation in oceanographic studies and sea level monitoring. An example is the analysis made of the surface signal due to a heavy Guadalquivir River discharge event.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 02731177
Date made live: 09 Oct 2018 12:57 +0 (UTC)

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