Coastal waveform retracking for Jason-2 altimeter data based on along-track Echograms around the Tsushima Islands in Japan

Xifeng Wang, Kaoru Ichikawa

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24 Citations (Scopus)


Although the Brown mathematical model is the standard model for waveform retracking over open oceans, due to heterogeneous surface reflections within altimeter footprints, coastal waveforms usually deviate from open ocean waveform shapes and thus cannot be directly interpreted by the Brown model. Generally, the two primary sources of heterogeneous surface reflections are land surfaces and bright targets such as calm surface water. The former reduces echo power, while the latter often produces particularly strong echoes. In previous studies, sub-waveform retrackers, which use waveform samples collected from around leading edges in order to avoid trailing edge noise, have been recommended for coastal waveform retracking. In the present study, the peaky-type noise caused by fixed-point bright targets is explicitly detected and masked using the parabolic signature in the sequential along-track waveforms (or, azimuth-range echograms). Moreover, the power deficit of waveform trailing edges caused by weak land reflections is compensated for by estimating the ratio of sea surface area within each annular footprint in order to produce pseudo-homogeneous reflected waveforms suitable for the Brown model. Using this method, altimeter waveforms measured over the Tsushima Islands in Japan by the Ocean Surface Topography Mission (OSTM)/Jason-2 satellite are retracked. Our results show that both the correlation coefficient and root mean square difference between the derived sea surface height anomalies and tide gauge records retain similar values at the open ocean (0.9 and 20 cm) level, even in areas approaching 3 km from coastlines, which is considerably improved from the 10 km correlation coefficient limit of the conventional MLE4 retracker and the 7 km sub-waveform ALES retracker limit. These values, however, depend on the topography of the study areas because the approach distance limit increases (decreases) in areas with complicated (straight) coastlines.

Original languageEnglish
Article number762
JournalRemote Sensing
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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