Application of ERS-1 and Topex/Poseidon altimetry using precise orbits

  • C.W. Lam

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


The work described in this thesis concerns the application of radar altimetry, collected from the ERS-1 and TOPEX/POSEIDON missions, to precise satellite orbits computed at Aston University. The data is analysed in a long arc fashion to determine range biases, time tag biases, sea surface topographies and to assess the radial accuracy of the generated orbits through crossover analysis.
A sea surface variability study is carried out for the North Sea using repeat altimeter profiles from ERS-1 and TOPEX/POSEIDON in order to verify two local U.K. models for ocean tide and storm surge effects.
An on-side technique over the English Channel is performed to compute the ERS-1, TOPEX and POSEIDON altimeter range biases by using a combination of altimetry, precise orbits determined by short arc methods, tide gauge data, GPS measurements, geoid, ocean tide and storm surge models.
The remaining part of the thesis presents some techniques for the short arc correction of long arc orbits. Validation of this model is achieved by way of comparison with actual SEASAT short arcs. Simulations are performed for the ERS-1 microwave tracking system, PRARE, using the range data to determine time dependent orbit corrections. Finally, a brief chapter is devoted to the recovery of errors in station coordinates by the use of multiple short arcs.
Date of AwardMay 1994
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorPhilip Moore (Supervisor)


  • satellite altimetry
  • precise orbit determination
  • PRARE simulations
  • altimeter bias
  • short arcs

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