Next set of Copernicus Sentinel-3A ocean data flow towards users

Just three weeks after data from Sentinel-3A‘s Sea and Land Surface Temperature Radiometer data joined the flow, the Synthetic Aperture Radar Altimeter (SRAL) instrument on board the satellite now traces sea surface height on an operational basis.

Tuesday, 13 December 2016


SRAL has been designed to deliver accurate measurements of sea surface height, significant wave height and surface wind speeds over the world’s oceans for Copernicus ocean forecasting systems and for monitoring sea level change.

With the arrival of the latest set of data, Meteorological Institutes and ocean modellers will now be able to start assimilating the Sentinel-3 altimeter data into their models, helping to improve the determination and prediction of ocean currents, significant wave height and wind speed. Sentinel-3 altimeter data are also going to aid a broad range of other applications, such as the measurement of sea ice thickness and volume as well as the prediction of the strengthening and path of hurricanes.

"The measurements of Sentinel-3A have been of very high quality from the start"

Remko Scharroo, Remote Sensing Scientist at EUMETSAT, said: “The measurements of Sentinel-3A have been of very high quality from the start. During the commissioning phase, we have been adjusting the processing and calibrations of the measurements so that we can produce data products within the timeliness and performance requirements. Since this is the first altimeter to provide SAR altimetry globally in near real time, this has been taking longer than missions with a longer heritage, such as Jason-3.”

All data from the Sentinel-3 mission are cross-calibrated against the Jason-3 reference mission.

Remko Scharroo explains: "Sentinel-3A and Jason-3 are complementary missions. Where Jason-3 is a reference for the monitoring of ocean currents and sea level (rise) at larger scales, Sentinel-3A aims to map the mesoscale ocean features that are particularly important for ocean navigation. Sentinel-3B, to be launch in about one year from now, will further improve the mapping of smaller-scale ocean features."

More SRAL data are scheduled for release in Mid January.

For details on how to access the SRAL data,see here.

For more information about ESA's Sentinel-3 SRAL Level 1B and Level 2 core data products release see here.


Measurements of sea level anomaly (top), significant wave height (middle), and wind speed (bottom) provided by EUMETSAT in near real time, within 3 hours from the time of measurement. This data was collected over a full repeat cycle of 27 days.

About Sentinel-3A

Carrying a suite of instruments, Sentinel-3A has been designed to measure Earth’s oceans, land, ice and atmosphere to monitor large-scale global dynamics and to provide critical near-real-time information for many ocean, land and weather applications.

While the operations of the Sentinel-3A satellite are carried out by EUMETSAT, the mission is managed jointly by ESA and EUMETSAT.

ESA is responsible for the land data products and EUMETSAT for the marine products – all of which are made available for application through Copernicus services.


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