An estimation of tropospheric corrections using GPS and synoptic data: Improving Urmia Lake water level time series from Jason-2 and SARAL/AltiKa satellite altimetry

, , and . Advances in Space Research, (2018)
DOI: 10.1016/j.asr.2018.02.013


© 2018 COSPAR. Tropospheric correction is one of the most important corrections in satellite altimetry measurements. Tropospheric wet and dry path delays have strong dependence on temperature, pressure and humidity. Tropospheric layer has particularly high variability over coastal regions due to humidity, wind and temperature gradients. Depending on the extent of water body and wind conditions over an inland water, Wet Tropospheric Correction (WTC) is within the ranges from a few centimeters to tens of centimeters. Therefore, an extra care is needed to estimate tropospheric corrections on the altimetric measurements over inland waters. This study assesses the role of tropospheric correction on the altimetric measurements over the Urmia Lake in Iran. For this purpose, four types of tropospheric corrections have been used: (i) microwave radiometer (MWR) observations, (ii) tropospheric corrections computed from meteorological models, (iii) GPS observations and (iv) synoptic station data. They have been applied to Jason-2 track no. 133 and SARAL/AltiKa track no. 741 and 356 corresponding to 117-153 and the 23-34 cycles, respectively. In addition, the corresponding measurements of PISTACH and PEACHI, include new retracking method and an innovative wet tropospheric correction, have also been used. Our results show that GPS observation leads to the most accurate tropospheric correction. The results obtained from the PISTACH and PEACHI projects confirm those obtained with the standard SGDR, i.e., the role of GPS in improving the tropospheric corrections. It is inferred that the MWR data from Jason-2 mission is appropriate for the tropospheric corrections, however the SARAL/AltiKa one is not proper because Jason-2 possesses an enhanced WTC near the coast. Furthermore, virtual stations are defined for assessment of the results in terms of time series of Water Level Height (WLH). The results show that GPS tropospheric corrections lead to the most accurate WLH estimation for the selected virtual stations, which improves the accuracy of the obtained WLH time series by about 5\%.

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