Improved retracking algorithm for oceanic altimeter waveforms
Over the deep oceans without land/ice interference, the waveforms created by the return altimeter pulse generally follow the ocean model of Brown, and the corresponding range can be properly determined using the result from an onboard tracker. In the case of complex altimeter waveforms corrupted due to a variety of reasons, the processor on the satellite cannot properly determine the center of the leading edge, and range observations can be in error. As an efficacious method to improve the precision of those altimeter observations with complex waveforms, waveform retracking is required to reprocess the original returning pulse. Based on basic altimeter theory and the geometric feature of altimeter waveforms, we developed a new altimeter waveform retracker, which is valid for all altimeter waveforms once there exists a reasonable returning signal. The performances of the existing Beta-5 retracker, threshold retracker, improved threshold retracker, and the new retracker are assessed in the experimental regions (China Seas and its adjacent regions), and the improvements in the accuracy of sea surface height are investigated by the difference between retracked altimeter observations and referenced geoid. The comparisons denote that the new algorithm gives the best performance in both the open ocean and coastal regions. Also, the new retracker presents a uniform performance in the whole test region. Besides, there is a significant improvement in the short-wavelength precision and the spatial resolution of sea surface height after retracking process.
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Progress in Natural Science
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