Extra precision added to Sentinel-3 altimetry

April 19th, 2018, Published in Articles: PositionIT

A highly precise MicroWave Radiometer (MWR) built by Airbus is ready to start operations after the launch of the Sentinel-3B satellite built by Thales Alenia Space. Sentinel-3 is the Copernicus operational wide-swath medium resolution ocean and land mission, and is designed to provide continuity to optical and altimetry data of the Airbus built Envisat mission, as well as the vegetation data of ERS and SPOT missions. An essential instrument, the MWR will measure atmospheric humidity as supplementary information for tropospheric path correction of the altimeter signal. In addition, the instrument’s data is useful to measure surface emissivity and soil moisture over land. These corrected measurements along with a digital elevation mode help the radar altimeter to work in synthetic aperture radar (SAR) mode, which is much more precise and provides better spatial resolution. The data will allow scientists to monitor sea-level changes, sea-surface temperature, manage water quality, and track marine pollution and biological productivity. It will also provide a land-monitoring service with wildfire detection, land-cover mapping and vegetation health monitoring. This will provide complementary data to the Sentinel-2 multispectral optical mission.

Contact Corné Eloff, Airbus Defence and Space, Tel 011 266-2614, corne.eloff@airbus.com

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