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Global Analysis of EnviSat Burst Echoes over Inland Water
Berry, P.; Freeman, J.
De Montfort University

The unique ability of the EnviSat RA-2 to transmit a small proportion of the full 1800Hz raw waveforms gathered on board to ground has allowed an investigation of the characteristics of inland water echoes at an unparalleled level of detail. Considerable reprocessing is required to transform the raw echoes into useable form: they must then be merged with the EnviSat SGDR dataset for inclusion of atmospheric and instrument corrections, and, crucially, inclusion of precise orbit data. For the work presented in this paper, the echoes were then retracked using an expert system approach, with retrackers specifically configured for these unique waveforms. The results show in detail the complex and intricate response of inland water to Ku band altimetry, and confirm that averaging these echoes significantly degrades the information content.

To optimise the measurement and monitoring of inland water using pulse limited altimetry, these results confirm that far higher along-track sampling is required than is permitted by the current generation of altimeters. It should be noted that the detailed analysis presented in this paper is made possible because of the superb characteristics of the RA-2, specifically, the extremely low instrument noise.

 

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