Extending the Arctic sea ice freeboard and sea level record with the Sentinel-3 radar altimeters

Isobel R. Lawrence*, Thomas W.K. Armitage, Michel C. Tsamados, Julienne C. Stroeve, Salvatore Dinardo, Andy L. Ridout, Alan Muir, Rachel L. Tilling, Andrew Shepherd

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


In February 2016 and April 2018 the European Space Agency launched the Sentinel-3A and 3B satellites respectively, as part of the European Commission's multi-satellite Copernicus Programme. Here we process Sentinel-3A waveform data to estimate Arctic sea level anomaly and radar freeboard from November 2017 to April 2018. We compare our results to those from the CryoSat-2 satellite, and find an intermission bias on sea-level anomaly of 2 cm. We also find a mean radar freeboard difference of 1 cm, which we attribute to the use of empirical retrackers to retrieve lead and floe elevations. Ahead of Sentinel-3B waveform data being made available, we use orbit files to estimate the improvement in sampling resolution afforded by the addition of Sentinel-3A and 3B data to the CryoSat-2 dataset. By combining data from the three satellites, grid resolution or time-sampling can be almost tripled compared with using CryoSat-2 data alone.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)711-723
Number of pages13
JournalAdvances in Space Research
Issue number2
Early online date16 Oct 2019
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2021
Externally publishedYes

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