The Water And Terrestrial Elevation Recovery Hydrosphere Mapper (WATER-HM): a Dedicated Surface Water Mission
Mognard, N.1; Alsdorf, D.2; Cazenave, A.1; Rodriguez, E.3
1CNES-LEGOS; 2Ohio State University; 3JPL

Different instruments on board Earth observing satellite missions have been used to retrieve continental surface hydrology parameters. Profiling altimeters miss about 30 percent of the rivers and 70 percent of the lakes in the global data bases. An international team is proposing the Water And Terrestrial Elevation Recovery Hydrosphere Mapper (WATER-HM) mission, a high-resolution, image-based approach with two-dimensional acquisitions of water surface elevations h, dh/dt, and dh/dx required to answer important hydrologic questions. A key technology of the WATER-HM mission is a Ka-band Radar INterferometer (KaRIN) which is a near-nadir viewing, 120 km wideswath based instrument that uses interferometric SAR processing of the returned pulses to yield single-look 5m azimuth and 10m to 70m range resolution, with an elevation accuracy of approximately 50 cm. Polynomial based averaging of heights along the water body increases the height accuracy to about 3 cm. The entire globe is covered twice every 16 days and orbit subcycles allow the average visit to be about half this time at low to mid-latitudes. KaRIN has a rich heritage based on (1) the ocean observing radar altimeters, (2) the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM), and (3) the development effort of the Wide Swath Ocean Altimeter (WSOA). WATER-HM has been selected in early 2007 by the U.S. National Research Councilís Decadal Survey of Earth Science and Applications from Space as one of 17 high-priority missions.


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