Marine Science Faculty Publications

Calibration and Verification of Jason-1 Using Global Along-Track Residuals with TOPEX

Don Chambers, University of Texas
J. C. Ries, University of Texas
T. J. Urban, University of Texas


It is demonstrated that the Jason-1 measurements of sea surface height (SSH), wet path delay, and ionosphere path delay are within required accuracies, via a global cross-calibration with similar measurements made by TOPEX/Poseidon (T/P) over a 6-month period. Since the two satellites were on the same groundtrack separated in time by only 70 s, measurements were recorded at approximately the same location and time. The variations in the wet path delay measured by Jason-1 compared to T/P are only 5 mm RMS, well within the required performance of 1.2 cm RMS. The RMS of the ionosphere differences is also well within the expected values, with a mean RMS of 1.2 cm. The largest difference is that the Jason-1 SSH is biased high relative to T/P SSH by 144 mm after the T/P and Jason-1 data are both corrected with improved sea state bias (SSB) models. However, the bias will change if a different SSB model is used, so the user should be cautious that the bias used matches the SSB models. The bias is generally constant within ± 10 mm in the open ocean, but appears to be higher or lower in some regions. Additionally, the SSH has been verified by comparison with 36 island tide gauges over the same period. After removing the global relative bias, the Jason-1 SSH data agree with tide gauges within 3.7 cm RMS and with T/P data within about 3.5 cm RMS on average for 1-s measurements, meeting the required accuracy of 4.2 cm RMS.