Towards development of a consistent orbit series for TOPEX, Jason-1, and Jason-2

The TOPEX/Poseidon, Jason-1 and Jason-2 set of altimeter data now provide a time series of synoptic observations of the ocean that span nearly 17 years from the launch of TOPEX in 1992. The analysis of the altimeter data including the use of altimetry to monitor the global change in mean sea level requires a stable, accurate, and consistent orbit reference over the entire time span. In this paper, we describe the recomputation of a time series of orbits that rely on a consistent set of reference frames and geophysical models. The recomputed orbits adhere to the IERS 2003 standards for ocean and earth tides, use updates to the ITRF2005 reference frame for both the SLR and DORIS stations, apply GRACE-derived models for modeling of the static and time-variable gravity, implement the University College London (UCL) radiation pressure model for Jason-1, use improved troposphere modeling for the DORIS data, and apply the GOT4.7 ocean tide model for both dynamical ocean tide modeling and for ocean loading. The new TOPEX orbits have a mean SLR fit of 1.79 cm compared to 2.21 cm for the MGDR-B orbits. These new TOPEX orbits agree radially with independent SLR/crossover orbits at 0.70 cm RMS, and the orbit accuracy is estimated at 1.5-2.0 cm RMS over the entire TOPEX time series. The recomputed Jason-1 orbits agree radially with the Jason-1 GDR-C orbits at 1.08 cm RMS. The GSFC SLR/DORIS dynamic and reduced-dynamic orbits for Jason-2 agree radially with independent orbits from the CNES and JPL at 0.70-1.06 cm RMS. Applying these new orbits, and using the latest altimeter corrections for TOPEX, Jason-1, and Jason-2 from September 1992 to May 2009, we find a global rate in mean sea level of 3.0 \textpm 0.4 mm/yr.
Year of Publication
Advances in Space Research
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