Satellite radar altimetry has been monitoring the earth's oceans from space for several decades. However, only the GEOSAT and ERS-1 geodetic mission data recorded more than a decade ago provide altimetry with adequate spatial coverage to derive a high-resolution marine gravity field. The original geodetic mission data suffer from degradation in quality and coverage close to the coast and in Polar Regions as well as the occasionally wrongly retracking of these, even in the open ocean. In order to improve the quality of these geodetic mission data and to derive a new improved global marine gravity field called DNSC08GRA, a new double retracking technique for analyzing the waveform data has been developed. Multiple retracking allows the system to retrack more data to increase the spatial coverage of the data. Subsequently, a second retracking run is used to enhance the SSH determination by using information from the first fitting to inform the second set of retrackers about smoothly varying sea state parameters. The development of the new global marine gravity field DNSC08GRA is described in this paper. Besides application of new retracking techniques the radar altimetry has been processed using EGM2008 as reference and augmented with ArcGP gravity data and laser altimetry from ICESat to close the Polar gap. DNSC08GRA is seen to perform significantly better than previous global marine gravity field like KMS02. The improvement in accuracy is better than 20% in general, but in coastal regions, the improvement is in many places of the order of 40-50% compared to older global marine gravity field KMS02.
- Satellite altimetry
- Global marine gravity field