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Simulation of radar altimeter waveforms over ocean and ice covered regions

Verena Seufer(1)

(1) GeoForschungszentrum Potsdam, Telegrafenberg A6, 14473 Potsdam, Germany


Initially satellite altimeters were developed to measure ocean surface heights. But they also provide measurements over continental ice sheets and sea ice covered regions. Radar altimeters operating over ice covered regions are subject to additional error sources. The return scatter depends on the surface slope and surface roughness and is also affected by the extinction coefficient and the reflection inside the snow and ice layers. Therefore these parameters have to be well known for interpreting the power and the signal of the pulse response. Since it is almost impossible to determine the parameters continuously at the surface, the computational simulation of the waveform is a suitable tool to get a better understanding of the impact of the surface conditions on the reflected signal. For this purpose a waveform simulator has been developed which takes into account prominent topographic features due to the discretisation of the surfaces. We will present the results of various simulations of waveforms for different states of the surface and for several topographic features like shelf ice edges and ice floes. Using the waveform simulator will allow us to develop adapted retracking functions and will lead to a better estimation of sea surface heights in sea ice covered regions.


Full paper

Workshop poster


                 Last modified: 07.10.03