Over twenty years ago NASA and French partners, CNES, collaborated on what became the first of a series of important oceanographic missions that have been measuring ocean surface topography from space ever since. This first mission, TOPEX/Poseidon (T/P), is no longer operational, having exceeded its expected lifetime of 5 years to provide over 13 years of data. Two follow-on missions, Jason-1, and the Ocean Surface Topography Mission/Jason-2 (OSTM/Jason-2) launched in 2001 and 2008, respectively, and have extended the time series of data to over 20 years.

These satellites have enhanced our ability to monitor ocean eddies in near real time, and also to measure ocean wave height, providing considerable value for ship navigation and fisheries operations.  More importantly, the consecutive 20 year altimetric record has drastically improved our understanding of climatic variability and climate events (e.g., the El Niño Southern Oscillation), providing measurements for global mean sea level, mesoscale circulation, and hydrology (i.e., lake and river levels).  Such measurements will continue into the next decade through follow-on satellite missions such as Jason-3, Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich, and the Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) mission.

Dataset NameProcessing
Level
Start/StopFormatSpatial ResolutionTemporal
Resolution
TOPEX/POSEIDON ALTIMETER MERGED GEOPHYSICAL DATA RECORD GENERATION B21992-Sep-25 to 2005-Oct-08RAW11.2 km (Along) x 5.1 km (Across)10 Day
TOPEX ALTIMETER SENSOR DATA RECORD1B1992-Sep-25 to 2005-Oct-04RAW11.2 km (Along) x 5.1 km (Across)10 Day
TOPEX/Poseidon L2 Ocean Surface Topography Merged Geophysical Data Record Crossover ver B21996-Apr-24 to 1998-Jun-26RAW11.2 km (Along) x 5.1 km (Across)10 Day
SEASAT-A Scatterometer Level 3 Sigma-0 at Enhanced Resolution (BYU)31978-Jul-07 to 1978-Oct-10RAW0.04 degrees (Latitude) x 0.04 degrees (Longitude)12 Hour
TOPEX MICROWAVE RADIOMETER REPLACEMENT21992-Sep-25 to 2005-Oct-08RAW11.2 km (Along) x 5.1 km (Across)10 Day
OSTM GPS based orbit and SSHA OGDR22009-May-30 to 2019-Oct-01NETCDF11.2 km (Along) x 5.1 km (Across)10 Day
SEASAT SCATTEROMETER DEALIASED OCEAN WIND VECTORS (JPL-UCLA-AES)31978-Jul-07 to 1978-Oct-10ASCII1 degrees (Latitude) x 1 degrees (Longitude)6 Hour
SEASAT SCATTEROMETER DEALIASED OCEAN WIND VECTORS (Wentz et al.)21978-Jul-07 to 1978-Oct-09RAW100 km (Along) x 100 km (Across)12 Hour
Gridded Altimeter Fields with Enhanced Coastal Coverage41992-Oct-14 to 2012-Apr-18NETCDF0.25 degrees (Latitude) x 0.25 degrees (Longitude)7 Day
SEASAT SCATTEROMETER DERIVED GLOBAL GRIDDED MONTHLY OCEAN WIND STRESS (Chelton)31978-Jul-07 to 1978-Oct-10ASCII2.5 degrees (Latitude) x 2.5 degrees (Longitude)1 Month
JASON-1 ENHANCED JASON MICROWAVE RADIOMETER22002-Jan-15 to 2012-Feb-11NETCDF11.2 km (Along) x 5.1 km (Across)10 Day
OSCAR 1 degree ocean surface currents41992-Jan-01 to PresentNETCDF1 degrees (Latitude) x 1 degrees (Longitude)5 Day
SEASAT SCATTEROMETER BINNED 50KM SIGMA-0 DATA (Wentz)21978-Jul-07 to 1978-Oct-10RAW50 km (Along) x 50 km (Across)12 Hour
SEASAT SCATTEROMETER DEALIASED OCEAN WIND VECTORS (Atlas)21978-Jul-07 to 1978-Oct-10RAW100 km (Along) x 100 km (Across)12 Hour
OSCAR third degree resolution ocean surface currents41992-Oct-21 to PresentNETCDF0.33 degrees (Latitude) x 0.33 degrees (Longitude)5 Day
AVISO Level 4 Absolute Dynamic Topography for Climate Model Comparison41992-Oct-01 to 2010-Dec-31NETCDF1 degrees (Latitude) x 1 degrees (Longitude)1 Month
Reconstructed Sea Level Version 141950-Jan-03 to 2009-Jun-27NETCDF0.5 degrees (Latitude) x 0.5 degrees (Longitude)7 Day
Gridded Altimeter Fields with Enhanced Coastal Coverage Daily41992-Oct-14 to 2011-Jan-19NETCDF0.25 degrees (Latitude) x 0.25 degrees (Longitude)1 Day
Jason-1 GDR SSHA version E NetCDF Geodetic22012-May-07 to 2013-Jun-21NETCDF11.2 km (Along) x 5.1 km (Across)11 Day
Jason-1 SGDR version E NetCDF Geodetic22012-May-07 to 2013-Jun-21NETCDF11.2 km (Along) x 5.1 km (Across)11 Day
Jason-1 GDR version E NetCDF22002-Jan-14 to 2012-Mar-03NETCDF11.2 km (Along) x 5.1 km (Across)10 Day
Jason-1 GDR SSHA version E NetCDF22002-Jan-14 to 2012-Mar-03NETCDF11.2 km (Along) x 5.1 km (Across)10 Day
Jason-1 SGDR version E NetCDF22002-Jan-14 to 2012-Mar-03NETCDF11.2 km (Along) x 5.1 km (Across)10 Day
Jason-1 GDR version E NetCDF Geodetic22012-May-07 to 2013-Jun-21NETCDF11.2 km (Along) x 5.1 km (Across)11 Day
Jason-1 Microwave Radiometer version E Geodetic12012-May-04 to 2013-Jun-21NETCDF11.2 km (Along) x 5.1 km (Across)11 Day
Jason-1 Microwave Radiometer version E12002-Jan-14 to 2012-Mar-03NETCDF11.2 km (Along) x 5.1 km (Across)10 Day
Jason-3 GPS based orbit and SSHA OGDR22016-Sep-30 to PresentNETCDF11.2 km (Along) x 5.1 km (Across)10 Day
Integrated Multi-Mission Ocean Altimeter Data for Climate Research complete time series Version 4.221992-Sep-25 to PresentNETCDF11.2 km (Along) x 5.1 km (Across)10 Day
Pre SWOT Hydrology GRRATS Virtual Station River Heights Version 221992-Apr-08 to 2018-Apr-20NETCDF0 km (Along) x 0 km (Across)8 Day
OSTM/Jason-2 GPS based orbit and SSHA OGDR Long Repeat Orbit22017-Jul-11 to PresentNETCDF11.2 km (Along) x 5.1 km (Across)371 Days
Pre SWOT Hydrology GRRATS Daily River Heights and Storage Version 221992-Apr-08 to 2018-Apr-20NETCDF0 km (Along) x 0 km (Across)1 Day
MEaSUREs Gridded Sea Surface Height Anomalies Version 181241992-Oct-01 to PresentNETCDF0.17 degrees (Latitude) x 0.17 degrees (Longitude)5 Day
Pre SWOT Hydrology Global Lake/Reservoir Surface Inland Water Height GREALM V.221992-Sep-25 to 2018-Nov-24NETCDF0 km (Along) x 0 km (Across)
Pre SWOT Hydrology Global Lake/Reservoir Storage Time Series V241992-Sep-25 to 2018-Nov-24NETCDF degrees (Latitude) x degrees (Longitude)10 Day
ECCO 0.5 Degree Sea Surface Height41992-Oct-01 to PresentNETCDF0.5 degrees (Latitude) x 0.5 degrees (Longitude)1 Day
Global Mean Sea Level Trend from Integrated Multi-Mission Ocean Altimeters TOPEX/Poseidon Jason-1 and OSTM/Jason-2 Version 4.241992-Sep-25 to PresentASCII132 degrees (Latitude) x 360 degrees (Longitude)10 Day
Integrated Multi-Mission Ocean Altimeter Data for Climate Research Version 4.221992-Sep-25 to PresentNETCDF11.2 km (Along) x 5.1 km (Across)10 Day
ALES Jason-2 Coastal Altimetry Version 122008-Jul-12 to 2015-May-15NETCDF11.2 km (Along) x 5.1 km (Across)10 Day