Validation of copernicus sea level altimetry products in the baltic sea and estonian lakes

Aive Liibusk, Tarmo Kall, Sander Rikka, Rivo Uiboupin, Ülo Suursaar, Kuo Hsin Tseng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Multi-mission satellite altimetry (e.g., ERS, Envisat, TOPEX/Poseidon, Jason) data have enabled a synoptic-scale view of ocean variations in past decades. Since 2016, the Sentinel-3 mission has provided better spatial and temporal sampling compared to its predecessors. The Sentinel-3 Ku/C Radar Altimeter (SRAL) is one of the synthetic aperture radar altimeters (SAR Altimeter) which is more precise for coastal and lake observations. The article studies the performance of the Sentinel-3 Level-2 sea level altimetry products in the coastal areas of the Baltic Sea and on two lakes of Estonia. The Sentinel-3 data were compared with (i) collocated Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) ship measurements, (ii) the Estonian geoid model (EST-GEOID2017) together with sea-level anomaly corrections from the tide gauges, and (iii) collocated buoy measurements. The comparisons were carried out along seven Sentinel-3A/B tracks across the Baltic Sea and Estonian lakes in 2019. In addition, the Copernicus Marine Environment Monitoring Service (CMEMS) Level-3 sea-level products and the Nucleus for European Modelling of the Ocean (NEMO) reanalysis outcomes were compared with measurements from Estonia’s 21 tide gauges and the buoy deployed offshore. Our results showed that the uncertainty of the Sentinel-3 Level-2 altimetry product was below decimetre level for the seacoast and the selected lakes of Estonia. Results from CMEMS Level-3 altimetry products showed a correlation of 0.83 (RMSE 0.18 m) and 0.91 (RMSE 0.27 m) when compared against the tide gauge measurements and the NEMO model, respectively. The overall performance of the altimetry products was very good, except in the immediate vicinity of the coastline and for the lakes, where the accuracy was nearly three times lower than for the open sea, but still acceptably good.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4062
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalRemote Sensing
Issue number24
StatePublished - 2 Dec 2020


  • Copernicus
  • GNSS
  • Geoid model
  • NEMO reanalysis
  • Pressure buoys
  • Sea level
  • Tide gauges


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