The Benefits of the Ka-Band as Evidenced from the SARAL/AltiKa Altimetric Mission: Scientific Applications

Verron, Jacques ; Bonnefond, Pascal ; Aouf, Lofti ; Birol, Florence ; Bhowmick, Suchandra A. ; Calmant, Stéphane ; Conchy, Taina ; Crétaux, Jean-François ; Dibarboure, Gérald ; Dubey, A. K. ; Faugère, Yannice ; Guerreiro, Kevin ; Gupta, P. K. ; Hamon, Mathieu ; Jebri, Fatma ; Kumar, Raj ; Morrow, Rosemary ; Pascual, Ananda ; Pujol, Marie-Isabelle ; Rémy, Elisabeth ; Rémy, Frédérique ; Smith, Walter H. F. ; Tournadre, Jean ; Vergara, Oscar

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<p align=justify>The India-France SARAL/AltiKa mission is the first Ka-band altimetric mission dedicated primarily to oceanography. The mission objectives were firstly the observation of the oceanic mesoscales but also global and regional sea level monitoring, including the coastal zone, data assimilation, and operational oceanography. SARAL/AltiKa proved also to be a great opportunity for inland waters applications, for observing ice sheet or icebergs, as well as for geodetic investigations. The mission ended its nominal phase after three years in orbit and began a new phase (drifting orbit) in July 2016. The objective of this paper is to highlight some of the most remarkable achievements of the SARAL/AltiKa mission in terms of scientific applications. Compared to the standard Ku-band altimetry measurements, the Ka-band provides substantial improvements in terms of spatial resolution and data accuracy. We show here that this leads to remarkable advances in terms of observation of the mesoscale and coastal ocean, waves, river water levels, ice sheets, icebergs, fine scale bathymetry features as well as for the many related applications.</p>
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