The GEOSAT Altimeter Mission: A milestone in satellite oceanography
Article first published online: 3 JUN 2011
©1986. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.
Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union
Volume 67, Issue 48, pages 1354–1355, 2 December 1986
How to Cite
1986), The GEOSAT Altimeter Mission: A milestone in satellite oceanography, Eos Trans. AGU, 67(48), 1354–1355, doi:10.1029/EO067i048p01354., , , , , and (
- Issue published online: 3 JUN 2011
- Article first published online: 3 JUN 2011
In April 1985 the U.S. Navy satellite GEOSAT began generating a remarkable data set that may change the way in which physical oceanographers view the global oceans. GEOSAT (Figure 1) carries a radar altimeter that provides a continuous record of sea level along the satellite ground track. Such records enable determination of sea level variability and have application in many areas of ocean dynamics. Experience with GEOS 3 (Geodynamics Experimental Ocean Satellite 3) and Seasat in the 1970s demonstrated the enormous potential of altimetry for oceanography. Seasat, for example, gathered sufficient altimeter data in its last 25 days alone to yield a global description of the mesoscale eddy field [Cheney et al., 1983], wave number spectra of sea level variability [Fu, 1983], and a global model of the M2 tide [Mazzega, 1985].