Geophysical Parameters and Associated Oceanographic Products
Through signal processing and interpretation, researchers have identified several different types of geophysical parameters which can be derived from the altimeter data provided by TOPEX/POSEIDON. These same parameters can then be directly associated with various oceanographic products as detailed in chart format below:
Dynamic Sea Surface Topography - (from Altitude)
A measure of sea level relative to earth's geoid from which oceanographers can calculate the speed and direction of winds. Two very precise distance measurements must be established in order to acquire reliable topographical ocean surface maps. First, the height of the satellite above the reference ellipsoidis measured by tracking the satellite in orbit from a globally distributed network of lasers and/or Doppler stations. The trajectory and height of the satellite are further refined by using orbit dynamic equations.
Second, the height of the satellite above the closest ocean surface is measured with a microwave radar altimeter. The difference between the height above the reference ellipsoid and the altitude above the ocean surface is approximately equal to the geoid height.
Depicted in the image below is the difference between the geoid height and mean sea level, commonly referred to as sea surface topography. This sea surface height has two main components, the geoid height, which reflects the gravitational field of the earth and the dynamic sea surface height, which reflects the ocean currents and tides.
Sea Surface Variability
Wind Speed - (from Backscatter Coefficient)
Significant Wave Height - (from Wave Form Leading Edge)
CSR/TSGC Team Web