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Proceedings of OceanObs'09: Sustained Ocean Observations and Information for Society

COMMUNITY WHITE PAPER10.5270/OceanObs09.cwp.92

The Ocean Surface Topography Constellation: The Next 15 Years in Satellite Altimetry

Stan Wilson(1), François Parisot(2), Philippe Escudier(3), Jean-Louis Fellous(4), Jérôme Benveniste(5), Hans Bonekamp(6), Mark Drinkwater(7), Lee Fu(8), Gregg Jacobs(9), Mingsen Lin(10), Eric Lindstrom(11), Laury Miller(12), Rashmi Sharma(13), Eric Thouvenot(14)

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An overriding issue facing the altimetry community today is sustaining the present observational capability. In Europe and the U.S., this involves transitioning altimetry as a research endeavour within the R&D agencies into a sustained capability within their operational counterparts. Additionally, meeting operational and scientific objectives require multiple missions, namely, a constellation. Requirements for such a constellation in the near term include maintaining continuity of (1) the low-inclination Jason-class altimeter series to serve as a reference mission, and at the same time (2) altimeters on at least two, preferably three, satellites in complementary high-inclination orbits. The first is needed to address the role of the oceans in climate, while together they address mesoscale variability or ocean weather. For the longer term, capabilities are needed which feature denser sampling via the development and demonstration of new techniques, one example being wide-swath swath altimetry. Recognizing the need for coordination, the Ocean Surface Topography Virtual Constellation (OST VC) has been established to maximize synergy between the existing and near-term missions; this includes promoting a data policy that enables full and open sharing of data with timely access for all.

1NOAA/NESDIS (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service), 1335 East West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910, U.S.A.
2EUMETSAT (European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites), Eumetsat-Allee 1, 64295 Darmstadt, Germany
3CLS (Collecte Localisation Satellites), 8-10 rue Hermès, 31520 Ramonville Saint-Agne, France
4JCOMM (Joint World Meteorological Organisation (WMO)/Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) Technical Commission for Oceanography and Marine Meteorology), c/o CNES/COSPAR (Centre national d'études spatiales/Committee on Space Research), 2 Place Maurice-Quentin, 75039 Paris Cedex 01, France
5ESA/ESRIN (European Space Agency/European Space Research Institute), Via Galileo Galilei, Frascati 00044, Italy
6European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT), Eumetsat-Allee 1, 64295 Darmstadt, Germany
7ESA/ESTEC (European Space Agency/European Space Research and Technology Centre), Keplerlaan 1, 2201 AZ, Noordwijk The Netherlands
8JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory), MS 300-323, 4800 Oak Grove Drive, Pasadena, CA 91109, U.S.A
9NRL (Naval Research Laboratory), 7320, Stennis Space Center, MS 39529, U.S.A.
10NMEFC/SOA (National Marine Environmental Forecasting Center/State Ocean Administration), 8 Dahuisi Road, Haidian District, Beijing 100081, China
11NASA HQ (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/Headquarter), MS 3F71, 300 E St. SW, Washington, DC 20546, U.S.A
12NOAA/NESDIS/LSA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service/Laboratory for Satellite Altimetry), 1335 East West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910, U.S.A.
13ISRO/SAC (Indian Space Research Organization/Space Applications Centre), OSD/MOG/RESA (Oceanic Sciences Division/Meteorology and Oceanography Group/Remote Sensing Area, Space Applications Centre), Ahmedabad 380 015, India
14CNES/TSC (Centre National d'Études Spatiales/Signal Theory and Communications), 18 av. Edouard Belin, 31401 Toulouse Cedex 9 France

Correspondence should be addressed to E-mail: stan.wilson@noaa.gov

This paper shall be cited as:

Wilson, S. & Co-Authors (2010). "The Ocean Surface Topography Constellation: The Next 15 Years in Satellite Altimetry" in Proceedings of OceanObs’09: Sustained Ocean Observations and Information for Society (Vol. 2), Venice, Italy, 21-25 September 2009, Hall, J., Harrison, D.E. & Stammer, D., Eds., ESA Publication WPP-306, doi:10.5270/OceanObs09.cwp.92

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