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Laboratory for Satellite Altimetry / Sea Level Rise

Related web sites

Sea level rise web sites

  • The ESA Sea Level Climate Change Initiative is a project to produce and validate a Sea Level Essential Climate Variable (ECV) product.
  • The Permanent Service for Mean Sea Level (PSMSL) hosted at the Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory (POL) is the global data bank for long-term sea level change information from tide gauges. The PSMSL collect data from several hundred gauges situated all over the globe.
  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Climate Change Site has information on coastal zones and sea level rise.
  • CCAR (Colorado Center for Astrodynamics Research, University of Colorado) provides estimates of global mean sea level.
  • AVISO's web site from the latest provides estimates of global mean sea level from CLS/Legos.

NOAA sea level web sites

NOAA logo
  • The NOAA Climate Program Office (CPO) coordinates climate activities across all NOAA. The CPO focuses on developing a broader user community for climate products and services, provides NOAA a focal point for climate activities within NOAA, leads NOAA climate education and outreach activities, and coordinates international climate activities.
  • NOAA's Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services (CO-OPS) web site provides rate of mean sea level rise or fall has been determined for 117 long-term water-level stations in the United States. The site also provides sea level trend analysis for to the 44 non-CO-OPS water level stations identified as part of core global network for monitoring long term sea level trends. The site also has information on the application of water level and datum information to sea level rise impact studies.
  • The National Office for Integrated and Sustained Ocean Observations is a federal interagency office supported by ten agencies. It was established by the Congressionally-created National Oceanographic Partnership Program (NOPP). Since its establishment in 2000, Ocean.US has catalyzed the coordinated development of an Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS), the U.S. contribution to a Global Ocean Observing System and to the Global Earth Observation System of Systems.

Altimetry web sites

Jason-1 logo

General altimetry information

  • CLS has created a tutorial on satellite radar altimetry is available at
  • The Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Ocean Surface Topography from Space web site has information about the altimetry missions TOPEX/Poseidon, Jason-1, and Jason-2 as well the science and applications of ocean altimetry.
  • AVISO/Altimetry is the French Active Archive Data Center for multi-satellite altimeter missions responsible for post-processing, analyzing, archiving and distributing altimetry data for CNES (Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales), the French Space Agency.

Current missions

  • OSTM/Jason-2, the Ocean Surface Topography Mission on the Jason-2 satellite, is a joint effort by four organizations to continue the TOPEX/Poseidon and Jason-1 sea surface height. The four mission participants are the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), France’s Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES), and the European Meteorological Satellite Organisation (EUMETSAT). (Launched: June 2008)
  • Cryosat-2, an altimetry satellite built by the European Space Agency and dedicated to polar observation, launched on 8 April 2010. Its primary instrument, a Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), determines variations in the thickness of Earth's continental ice sheets and marine ice cover. Cryosat-2 also operators over the ocean.

Future missions

  • Jason-3 (Launch expected: March 2015)

Past missions

  • Seasat was the first JPL mission to study Earth using imaging radar specifically designed to observe the ocean. (Launched: 1978)
  • Geosat (GEOdetic SATellite) was a dedicated US Navy military oceanographic satellite designed to obtain closely spaced, precise mapping of the earth's geoid over the ocean. (Launched: 1985)
  • ERS-1 was the first ESA satellite devoted to remote sensing to carry a radar altimeter. ERS-1 had various mission phases using 3-day, 35-day, and 336-day repeat cycles. The 336-day mission (Geodetic Mission) allowed for accurate mapping of the Earth's bathymetry and geoid over the ocean. ERS-1 failed on March 10, 2000. (Launched: July 1991.)
  • TOPEX/Poseidon, launched in 1992, was a joint venture between CNES and NASA to map ocean surface topography. While a 3-year prime mission was planned, with a 5-year store of expendables, TOPEX/Poseidon operated for thirteen years. (Launched: 1992)
  • GFO (GEOSAT Follow-On) site maintained by the NOAA Laboratory for Satellite Altimetry. The GFO program is the Navy's initiative to develop an operational series of radar altimeter satellites to maintain continuous ocean observation from the GEOSAT Exact Repeat Orbit. (Launched: 1998)
  • Jason-1 is successor to the TOPEX/Poseidon mission which is designed to ensure the continuity of TOPEX/Poseidon-class measurements. (Launched: December 2001)
  • ENVISAT (ENVIronment SATellite), the European Space Agency's third major remote sensing effort, a successor of the European Remote-Sensing satellites. It is primarily a research-oriented mission, carrying essentially pre-operational instruments for monitoring and studying the Earth's environment. (Launched: March 2002)
  • ERS-2, ESA's second European Remote-Sensing satellite, is largely identical to ERS-1. ERS-2 has been operating without gyroscopes since February 2001, resulting in some degradation of the data provided by the instruments. Because its tape drive failed on June 2003, data are now only available when the satellite is within visibility of a ground station. (Launched: April 1995.)

Argo web sites

Argo logo

Argo is an observation system for the Earth's oceans that provides real-time data for use in climate, weather, oceanographic and fisheries research. The Argo array is comprised of over 3000 free-drifting profiling floats that measure the salinity and temperature of upper 2000 meters of the ocean. Once every 10 days, each float surfaces in order to take measurements and transmit them. The array allows, for the first time, the continuous monitoring of the temperature, salinity, and velocity of the upper ocean.

  • The Argo home page explains how Argo works, how to get Argo data or products that use the data, and the latest news about the array.
  • The Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL) provides estimates of recent changes in Upper Ocean Heat Content Anomaly from Argo floats, Expendable Bathythermographs (XBTs), and CTD (conductivity, temperature and depth) measurements. PMEL also maintains profiling float web site. focussing on data quality control.
  • The Joint WMO-IOC Technical Commission for Oceanography and Marine Meteorology in situ Observing Platform Support Centre (JCOMMOPS) operates the International Argo Information Centre.

GRACE web sites

GRACE logo

The Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) mission uses a pair of satellites launched in March 2002 to make detailed measurements of Earth's gravity field. These observations include gravity variations due to changes in the surface and deep currents in the ocean. GRACE is jointly implemented by NASA and the Deutschen Zentrum für Luft-und Raumfahrt (DLR).

  • The Center for Space Research at the University of Texas maintains the GRACE home page.
  • GRACE Tellus provides monthly estimates of changes in ocean mass.