Jason-1 Geophysical Performance EvaluationSpecial Issue: Jason-1 Calibration/Validation
The Jason-1 satellite was launched on 7 December 2001 with the primary objective of continuing the high accuracy time series of altimeter measurements that began with the TOPEX/Poseidon mission in 1992. To achieve this goal, it is necessary to validate the performance of the Jason-1 measurement system, and to verify that its error budget is at least at the same level as that of the TOPEX/Poseidon mission. The article reviews the main components of the Jason-1 altimetric error budget from instrument characterization to the geophysical use of the data. Using the Interim Geophysical Data Records (16DR) that were distributed to the Jason-1 Science Working Team during the verification phase of the mission, it is shown that the Jason-1 mission is performing well enough to continue studies of the large-scale features of the ocean, and especially to continue time series of mean sea-level variations with an accuracy comparable to TOPEX/Poseidon.
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