Jason-3 in orbit

Jason-3 ocean data products available to all users


Jason-3 in orbit
Jason-3 in orbit

Today, an important milestone has been passed in the commissioning of the US-European Jason-3 ocean-monitoring mission launched on 17 January 2016 with the release of the near-real time (NRT) Operational Geophysical Data Records (OGDR) and the non-time critical (NTC) Interim Geophysical Data Record (IGDR) to all users.

Last Updated

11 October 2021

Published on

01 July 2016

The OGDRs include estimates of significant wave height, wind speed, and a first estimate of sea surface height based on orbit data and atmospheric corrections available in real time.

They are disseminated to users within three hours of observation. IGDRs are distributed within two days of observation and provide more accurate estimates of sea surface height thanks to improved orbit determination.

Over recent months, engineers from CNES , EUMETSAT, NOAA and NASA and scientists from the international Ocean Surface Topography Science Team have been evaluating the Jason-3 OGDRs and IGDRs. 

"This milestone opens EUMETSAT’s delivery of operational Jason-3 data services to the EU Copernicus flagship Earth observation programme"

During this period, Jason-3 was flying in tandem with Jason-2, approximately 80 seconds apart, for the purpose of cross-calibration of sea surface height measurements at sub-centimetre level.

The OGDR and IGDR products will now be used worldwide for sea state forecasting, monitoring of marine environment and assimilation into models of the ocean or the coupled ocean-atmosphere system for ocean and seasonal forecasting. 

Dr Saleh Abdalla, a scientist at ECMWF , said: “The assimilation of Jason-3 OGDR sea surface height and significant wave height into the ECMWF Integrated Forecasting System improves the operational medium- to long-range weather forecasts and surface wind speed and total column water vapour measurements are important for model verification."

During the first Jason-3 verification workshop on 21 June, the European and US partners in the programme also decided to switch the operational service from Jason-2 to Jason-3 and to move Jason-2 to an interleaved orbit in Mid-September, to increase space and time coverage in line with user needs.

EUMETSAT Director of Operations and Services to Users Livio Mastroddi said: “This milestone opens EUMETSAT’s delivery of operational Jason-3 data services to the EU Copernicus flagship Earth observation programme.”

About Jason-3

Jason-3 is the result of an international partnership between EUMETSAT, the French Space Agency (CNES), the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the European Union, which funds European contributions to Jason-3 operations as part of the European Commission's Copernicus Programme .

Within Copernicus, Jason-3 is the reference mission for cross-calibrating Sentinel-3 observations of sea surface height and the precursor to the future cooperative Sentinel-6/Jason-CS mission also implemented in partnership between Europe and the United States.

EUMETSAT, CNES and NOAA will process data from Jason-3, with EUMETSAT being responsible for data services to users of the EUMETSAT and EU Member States, on behalf of the EU Copernicus Programme. Data access in Europe will be secured via the multi-mission infrastructure available at EUMETSAT and CNES, including EUMETSAT’s EUMETCast real-time data dissemination system, Earth Observation Portal and archives, as well as CNES’s AVISO data system.