Marine Science Faculty Publications

Assessment of the Jason-2 Extension to the TOPEX/Poseidon, Jason-1 Sea-Surface Height Time Series for Global Mean Sea Level Monitoring

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The Jason-2 (OSTM) follow-on mission to Jason-1 provides for the continuation of global and regional mean sea level estimates along the ground-track of the initial phase of the TOPEX/Poseidon mission. During the first several months, Jason-1 and Jason-2 flew in formation separated by only 55 seconds, enabling the isolation of inter-mission instrument biases through direct collinear differencing of near simultaneous observations. The Jason-2 Ku-band range bias with respect to Jason-1 is estimated to be −84 ± 9 mm, based on the orbit altitudes provided on the Geophysical Data Records. Modest improved agreement is achieved with the GSFC replacement orbits, which further enables the isolation of subtle (<1 cm) instrument-dependent range correction biases. Inter-mission bias estimates are confirmed with an independent assessment from comparisons to a 64-station tide-gauge network, also providing an estimate of the stability of the 17-year time series to be less than 0.1 mm/yr ± 0.4 mm/yr. The global mean sea level derived from the multi-mission altimeter sea-surface height record from January 1993 through September 2009 is 3.3 ± 0.4 mm/yr. Recent trends over the period from 2004 through 2008 are smaller and estimated to be 2.0 ± 0.4 mm/yr.

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Marine Geodesy, v. 33, issue 1, p. 447-471