EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Evaluation and scientific exploitation of CryoSat ocean products for oceanographic studies

Francisco Mir Calafat1, Chris Banks1, Helen Snaith2, Christine Gommenginger3, Andrew Shaw4, Paolo Cipollini5, Nadim Dayoub3, Jérôme Bouffard6, and Marco Meloni7
Francisco Mir Calafat et al.
  • 1National Oceanography Centre, Liverpool, United Kingdom (
  • 2British Oceanographic Date Centre, Southampton, United Kingdom
  • 3National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, United Kingdom
  • 4SKYMAT Ltd, Southampton, United Kingdom
  • 5Telespazio VEGA UK for ESA, Harwell, United Kingdom
  • 6European Space Agency, Frascati, Italy
  • 7Serco for ESA, Frascati, Italy

CryoSat’s ability to operate in different operating modes over water surfaces led to the first in-orbit evidence of the value of SAR-mode altimetry for oceanography, with the mission continuing to provide high-quality data and information not just over ice but also over the open ocean, polar waters and coastal regions. Approaching ten years in orbit, CryoSat routinely delivers a number of oceanographic products for global ocean applications. A dedicated operational CryoSat ocean processor (COP) has existed since April 2014 generating data products available in near real time (FDM/NOP), within ~3 days (IOP) and a geophysical ocean product (GOP) available within a month. An improved processing baseline was introduced in late 2017 and the same processing chain has now been applied to provide consistent ocean data products from the start of the mission. 
Within the ESA funded CryOcean-QCV project, the National Oceanography Centre (NOC) in the UK is responsible for routine quality control and validation of CryoSat Ocean Products. Activities include the production of daily and monthly reports containing global assessments and quality control of sea surface height anomaly (SSHA), significant wave height (SWH), backscatter coefficient (Sigma0) and wind speed, as well as a suite of validation protocols involving in situ data, model output and data from other satellite altimetry missions. This presentation will review some of the metrics and results obtained for CryoSat Ocean Products for SSHA, SWH and wind speed when assessed against data from tide gauges, wind and wave buoys, WaveWatch III wave model output, HF radar surface current data and comparisons with Jason-2 and Jason-3. Example metrics include SSHA along-track power spectra and the characterisation of offsets and variability regionally and in different sea states. 
In this presentation, we demonstrate the quality and scientific value of the CryoSat data in the open ocean where the altimeter operates mainly in conventional low-resolution-mode (LRM) but also over selected ocean regions where CryoSat operates in SAR-mode. 
Finally, scientific exploitation of the CryoSat data for oceanographic studies will be illustrated, focusing on CryoSat sea surface height anomalies. We will present examples of the benefits of CryoSat ocean products for oceanographic studies based on a dedicated Level 3 gridded product, featuring investigations of propagating ocean features (e.g. Rossby-type wave propagation) and their signatures in CryoSat in comparisons with data from other sources including SMOS, Sentinel 3A and 3B. 

How to cite: Mir Calafat, F., Banks, C., Snaith, H., Gommenginger, C., Shaw, A., Cipollini, P., Dayoub, N., Bouffard, J., and Meloni, M.: Evaluation and scientific exploitation of CryoSat ocean products for oceanographic studies, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-11812,, 2020

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