Quality assessment of a satellite altimetry data product DT18 in the Norwegian Sea: A comparison to tide gauge records and drifters data

Lev Naumov, Svetlana Gordeeva, Tatyana Belonenko

Research output


The objective of this paper is to assess the quality of the gridded altimetric sea level product DT18 as well as altimetry data from the Sea Level Climate Change Initiative in the Norwegian Sea. We compare the satellite altimetry data with two types of instrumental data. We use tide gauge records to assess the quality in the coastal zone and data from surface drifting buoys to assess the quality in the open ocean. Thus, we aim to complement previous studies by providing the objective assessment of the quality and performance of satellite altimetry in this important region. We demonstrate that the product DT18 reproduces the sea level variability in the coastal zone at an acceptable level (an average error is 3–4 cm), and it reproduces the structure of the time series quite well (almost with a 96% correlation). We found out that altimetry substantially smoothes the pattern of the sea level. This pattern is revealed in the coastal zone as well as in the open sea, where, in addition, it also manifests errors in a shape of “diamonds”, which can be due to data interpolation from satellite tracks. We detected the influence of ageostrophic factors on the current velocities using altimetry in the open sea, and this is also true for the coastal zone. Statistical tests also showed some discrepancies between altimetry data and field (buoys and drifters) data in the open sea. This is manifested in the statistical inequality of variances and in differences of empirical distribution functions. Summing up, we assert that some errors or discrepancies in altimetric data are still observed in high latitudes, both in the coastal zone and in the open part of the Norwegian Sea.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAdvances in Space Research
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Sep 2019


Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Geophysics
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

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