Altimetry 241 Overview

Satellite altimetry is the most essential observing system required for global operational oceanography. It provides global, real time, all-weather sea level measurements (SSH) with high space and time resolution. Sea level is directly related to ocean circulation through the geostrophic approximation (see Sect. 2.4.5). Sea level is also an integral of the ocean interior and is a strong constraint for inferring the

4D ocean circulation through data assimilation. Altimeters also measure significant wave height, which is essential for operational wave forecasting. High resolution from multiple altimeters is required to adequately represent ocean eddies and associated currents (the "ocean weather") in models. Only altimetry can constrain the 4D mesoscale circulation in ocean models which is required for most operational oceanography applications.

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