Radar satellite altimetry has revolutionized our understanding of the Earth’s sea-level shape and its change over time, monitoring of the natural and human-induced water cycle, marine gravity computations, seafloor relief (bathymetry) reconstruction, tectonics, water mass balance change monitoring, etc., thus providing significant impact in geodesy. Today satellite radar altimetry is critical for unifying the vertical height systems, regional and global geoid modeling, monitoring of the sea level rise impact, monitoring of the ice sheet melting, and others. This chapter gives an overview of the technology itself and the recent developments including the SAR (Synthetic Aperture Radar) altimetry, coastal altimetry retracking methods, and new satellite missions (e.g. Sentinel-6). Besides, the chapter presents recent applied studies utilizing the altimeter data for ice sheet monitoring, vertical land motion estimating, bathymetric computations, and marine geoid modeling.
Part of the book: Geodetic Sciences