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

Birol, Florence; Léger, Fabien; Passaro, Marcello; Cazenave, Anny; Niño, Fernando; Mir Calafat, Francisco M. ORCID:; Shaw, Andrew; Legeais, Jean-François; Gouzenes, Yvan; Schwatke, Christian; Benveniste, Jérôme. 2021 The X-TRACK/ALES multi-mission processing system: New advances in altimetry towards the coast. Advances in Space Research, 67 (8). 2398-2415.

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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.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 02731177
Date made live: 23 Feb 2021 09:20 +0 (UTC)

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