Day 4

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Paper title Sentinel-3 Land STM MPC: Performance of the Sentinel-3 Surface Topography Mission for monitoring ice sheet elevation and mass balance
  1. Malcolm McMillan Lancaster University Speaker
  2. Sebastian Bjerregaard Simonsen Technical University of Denmark
  3. Louise Sandberg Sørensen DTU Space
  4. Jenny Maddalena Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University
  5. Qi Huang Lancaster University
  6. Jérémie Aublanc CLS
  7. Ghita Jettou Collecte Localisation Satellites (CLS)
  8. Pierre Féménias ESA/ESRIN
Form of presentation Poster
  • A9. Polar Science and Cryosphere
    • A9.04 Mass Balance of the Cryosphere
Abstract text Sentinel-3 is an Earth observation satellite series developed by the European Space Agency as part of the Copernicus Programme. It currently consists of 2 satellites: Sentinel-3A and Sentinel-3B, launched respectively on 16 February 2016 and 25 April 2018. Among the on-board instruments, the satellites carry a radar altimeter to provide operational topography measurements of Earth’s surface. Over land ice, the main objective of the Sentinel-3 constellation is to provide accurate measurements of the polar ice sheets’ topography, in particular to support ice sheet mass balance studies. Compared to many previous missions that carried conventional pulse limited altimeters, Sentinel-3 measures the surface topography with an enhanced spatial resolution, thanks to the on-board SAR Radar ALtimeter (SRAL), which exploits delay-Doppler capabilities.

To further improve the performances of the Sentinel-3 Altimetry LAND products, ESA is developing dedicated and specialized Delay-Doppler and Level-2 processing chains over (1) Inland Waters - HY, (2) Sea-Ice - SI, and (3) Land Ice - LI areas. These so-called Thematic Instrument Processing Facilities (T-IPF) are currently under development, with an intended deployment by mid-2022. Over land ice the T-IPF will including new algorithms, in particular a dedicated delay-Doppler processing with extended window. This processing allows the recovery of a greater number of measurements over ice sheets, especially over the complex topography found across the ice sheet margins.

To ensure the missions requirements are met, ESA has set up the S3 Land Mission Performance Cluster (MPC), a consortium in charge of the assessment and monitoring of the instrument, and core product performances. In this poster, the Expert Support Laboratory (ESL) of the MPC presents a first performance assessment of the T-IPF level-2 products over land ice. In particular, the benefits of the extended window processing to better monitor the ice sheet margins is evaluated. The performance of the Sentinel-3 topography measurements are also assessed by comparison to Operation IceBridge airborne data, and to other sensors such as ICESat-2 and CryoSat-2. Once the dedicated processing chain is in place for the land ice acquisitions, the Sentinel-3 STM level-2 products will evolve and improve more efficiently over time to continuously satisfy new requirements from the Copernicus Services and land ice community.