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Ocean Surface Topography from Space
The Harvest Experiment: Toward a Seamless 25-Year Altimeter Calibration Record


Bruce Haines - (Jet Propulsion Laboratory)

  Shailen Desai
George Born
(California Institute of Technology - JPL, Tracking Systems and Applications Section)
(University of Colorado, CCAR/ Aerospace Engineering, Regent and Colorado)
  Mathilde Cancet


The principal objective of the proposed work is to rigorously calibrate the long-term altimetric record of global sea level, and its constituent measurements, using in situ data collected at the PXP Harvest Oil Platform. Located off the coast of central California, the Harvest platform was established as the NASA primary verification site for TOPEX/POSEIDON (T/P) prior to its launch in 1992. The calibration experiment has provided accurate and continuous in-situ data for nearly 20 years, enabling unprecedented monitoring of the emerging climate record from T/P, Jason-1 and Jason-2.

The joint U.S./France Jason-3 (2014 ) and Jason-CS (2017 ) missions will follow the same ground track as their predecessors, implying that Harvest will continue to serve a vital role in validating data from precise space-borne radar altimeter systems. Estimates of the measurement system bias and stability of all relevant altimetric systems will be routinely supplied to the Ocean Surface Topography Science Team (OST/ST) and will be accompanied by rigorous error estimates. In addition, the collocation at Harvest will be exploited to help segregate the various potential sources of bias and drift in the satellite measurement systems, and to understand and minimize the errors in the in-situ systems.

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