Articles | Volume 12, issue 5
Research article
09 Sep 2016
Research article |  | 09 Sep 2016

DUACS DT2014: the new multi-mission altimeter data set reprocessed over 20 years

Marie-Isabelle Pujol, Yannice Faugère, Guillaume Taburet, Stéphanie Dupuy, Camille Pelloquin, Michael Ablain, and Nicolas Picot

Abstract. The new DUACS DT2014 reprocessed products have been available since April 2014. Numerous innovative changes have been introduced at each step of an extensively revised data processing protocol. The use of a new 20-year altimeter reference period in place of the previous 7-year reference significantly changes the sea level anomaly (SLA) patterns and thus has a strong user impact. The use of up-to-date altimeter standards and geophysical corrections, reduced smoothing of the along-track data, and refined mapping parameters, including spatial and temporal correlation-scale refinement and measurement errors, all contribute to an improved high-quality DT2014 SLA data set. Although all of the DUACS products have been upgraded, this paper focuses on the enhancements to the gridded SLA products over the global ocean. As part of this exercise, 21 years of data have been homogenized, allowing us to retrieve accurate large-scale climate signals such as global and regional MSL trends, interannual signals, and better refined mesoscale features.

An extensive assessment exercise has been carried out on this data set, which allows us to establish a consolidated error budget. The errors at mesoscale are about 1.4 cm2 in low-variability areas, increase to an average of 8.9 cm2 in coastal regions, and reach nearly 32.5 cm2 in high mesoscale activity areas. The DT2014 products, compared to the previous DT2010 version, retain signals for wavelengths lower than  ∼  250 km, inducing SLA variance and mean EKE increases of, respectively, +5.1 and +15 %. Comparisons with independent measurements highlight the improved mesoscale representation within this new data set. The error reduction at the mesoscale reaches nearly 10 % of the error observed with DT2010. DT2014 also presents an improved coastal signal with a nearly 2 to 4 % mean error reduction. High-latitude areas are also more accurately represented in DT2014, with an improved consistency between spatial coverage and sea ice edge position. An error budget is used to highlight the limitations of the new gridded products, with notable errors in areas with strong internal tides.