On the Performance of Sentinel‐3 Altimetry Over New Reservoirs: Approaches to Determine Onboard A Priori Elevation

Xingxing Zhang*, Liguang Jiang, Cecile M. M. Kittel, Zhijun Yao, Karina Nielsen, Zhaofei Liu, Rui Wang, Jun Liu, Ole B. Andersen, Peter Bauer‐Gottwein

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Satellite radar altimetry has become an important data source supplementing in situ water level. For practical reasons, a radar altimeter can only record reflected echoes within its range window. Therefore, water surface elevation must fall within the range window. To this end, the Sentinel‐3 radar altimetry mission is configured with a new tracking function (i.e., open loop) to position its range window based on an onboard a priori elevation of ground targets. We found that Sentinel‐3 is unable to observe recently built reservoirs due to the incorrect onboard elevations. To overcome this issue, four approaches are proposed to improve the a priori elevation for inland water bodies, particularly reservoirs. These approaches can significantly increase data availability of Sentinel‐3 over reservoirs and can be used to prepare the onboard elevations of reservoirs and lakes for future missions such as Sentinel‐6, Sentinel‐3C/‐3D, and the Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) mission.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2020GL088770
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Volume47
Issue number17
Number of pages11
ISSN0094-8276
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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