A New Way of using Altimetry Waveform Data over Continental Waters
Enjolras, V E1; Rodriguez, E2
1Thales Alenia Space; 2NASA JPL

Spaceborne radar altimeters are shown to have the potential for monitoring the height of large rivers with accuracies of approximately 1 m. However, the need for a better height accuracy and the observations of smaller continental basins have led to studies on how to improve and extend the use of nadir altimeter data. Conventional retracking techniques over land are limited to the examination of altimeter waveforms on a case by case basis. This approach may be limited to large rivers as it does not deeply rely on the likely inhomogeneous scenes observed. To overcome this limitation, we introduce a waveform fitting method using the entire set of waveforms associated with a water crossing, rather than individual waveforms. Theoretical power returns based on the a priori knowledge of the observed scenes are generated resulting in a parametric library of waveform histories, which is then used to constrain the estimation. For demonstration, we concentrate on the river Meuse in Northern Western Europe, which presents a challenge to conventional nadir altimeter waveform retracking, and the river Lena in Russia. We will present theoretical performance results and demonstrate the feasibility based on real altimeter data.


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