The use of radar altimeter products at ECMWF

Abdalla, Saleh ; Zuo, Hao

Année de publication
Radar altimeters are satellite instruments which probe the Earth's surface by emitting a series of electromagnetic pulses and measuring their reflections. The measurements are used to derive information on near-surface wind speed over the oceans, mean sea level, and ocean wave height. Observation capabilities have recently been boosted by the launch of two new satellites carrying radar altimeters: Jason-3 (January 2016) and Sentinel-3A (February 2016). ECMWF uses radar altimeter products both to help initialise forecasts and to monitor the performance of its Integrated Forecasting System (IFS). Experiments carried out at the Centre show that assimilating altimeter observations brings significant benefits for ocean reanalyses of sea level changes and for monthly and seasonal atmospheric forecasts as well as for wave height forecasts.

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