An Improved and Homogeneous Altimeter Sea Level Record from the ESA Climate Change Initiative

Legeais, JF, Ablain, M, Zawadzki, L, Zuo, H, Johannessen, JA, Scharffenberg, MG, Fenoglio-Marc, L, Fernandes, MJ, Andersen, O, Rudenko, S, Cipollini, P, Quartly, GD, Passaro, M, Cazenave, A and Benveniste, J 2018 An Improved and Homogeneous Altimeter Sea Level Record from the ESA Climate Change Initiative. Earth System Science Data, 10. 281-301.

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Sea Level is a very sensitive index of climate change since it integrates the impacts of ocean warming and ice mass loss from glaciers and the ice sheets. Sea Level has been listed as an Essential Climate Variable (ECV) by the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS). During the past 25 years, the sea level ECV has been measured from space by different altimetry missions that have provided global and regional observations of sea level variations. As part of the Climate Change Initiative (CCI) program of the European Space Agency (ESA) (established in 2010), the Sea Level project (SL_cci) aimed at providing an accurate and homogeneous long-term satellite-based sea level record. At the end of the first phase of the project (2010-2013), an initial version (v1.1) of the sea level ECV has been made available to users (Ablain et al., 2015). During the second phase (2014-2017), improved altimeter standards have been selected to produce new sea level products (called SL_cci v2.0) based on 9 altimeter missions for the period 1993-2015 ( Corresponding orbit solutions, geophysical corrections and altimeter standards used in this v2.0 dataset are described in details in Quartly et al. (2017). The present paper focuses on the description of the SL_cci v2.0 ECV and associated uncertainty and discusses how it has been validated. Various approaches have been used for the quality assessment such as internal validation, comparisons with sea level records from other groups and with in-situ measurements, sea level budget closure analyses and comparisons with model outputs. Compared to the previous version of the sea level ECV, we show that use of improved geophysical corrections, careful bias reduction between missions and inclusion of new altimeter missions lead to improved sea level products with reduced uncertainties at different spatial and temporal scales. However, there is still room for improvement since the uncertainties remain larger than the GCOS requirements. Perspectives for subsequent evolutions are also discussed.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Additional Keywords: Climate Change initiative Sea level Multiple altimeters
Subjects: Earth Observation - Remote Sensing
Divisions: Plymouth Marine Laboratory > Science Areas > Earth Observation Science and Applications
Depositing User: Graham Quartly
Date made live: 05 Mar 2018 14:41
Last Modified: 25 Apr 2020 09:58

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