Sub-Centimeter Precision Orbit Determination with GPS for Ocean Altimetry

We assess the accuracy of JPL\textquoterights estimated OSTM/Jason-2 Global Positioning System (GPS)-determined orbits based on residuals to independent satellite laser ranging (SLR) data, compared with orbits produced by different software from different data (SLR/DORIS), Geophysical Data Record version C (GDR-C) orbits, and altimeter crossover tests. All of these tests are consistent with sub-cm radial accuracy: high elevation SLR residual standard deviation lies at 6.8 mm, RMS differences from GDR-C in the radial component typically fall below a cm, and altimeter crossovers from JPL orbits have a variance 89 mm^2 smaller than altimeter crossovers from GDR-C orbits. Although RMS differences between radial components of different orbit solutions typically lie below a cm, we observe systematic dependences on both time and geography. The improved precision and accuracy of JPL\textquoterights OSTM/Jason-2 orbit solutions rely on a new algorithm for applying constraints to integer carrier phase ambiguities. This algorithm is sufficiently robust to improve solutions despite half-cycle carrier phase identification issues in OSTM/Jason-2\textquoterights BlackJack receiver. Although Jason-1 receiver performance differs, our algorithm should extend to Jason-1 processing (during the time span of nominal GPS receiver operations).
Year of Publication
Marine Geodesy
Number of Pages