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Indian Mainland Coastal Product

SARAL Coastal Product
SARAL/AltiKa was launched on 25 February 2013 as a joint collaboration mission of ISRO and CNES. With smaller footprint than earlier satellite altimeters, SARAL/AltiKa has improved coastal performance. Specific waveform processing has been used in this product to derive along track geophysical parameters (Sea Surface Height, Significant wave height and wind speed) from the altimeter 40-Hz waveform data. This product is generated for Indian mainland coastal region (up to 50 km from the coast). This product is available for 35 cycles of SARAL/AltiKa starting from March 2013 through July 2016.


Data Access

Science Products are available to download using username: scoast and password: coast#6109 Click Here to access the data

Data Version

  • Version 1.1 (Beta)

Data Sources

    • Altimeter Sensor-Interim Geophysical Data Record (S-IGDR)
    • Indian Ocean Bathymetry
    • Indian Ocean Geoid
    • High resolution coastline

Processing Steps

  • i. High resolution bathymetry is used to separate the coastal and land waveforms.
  • ii. Waveforms are classified based on their shape.
  • iii. Waveforms are retracked with the beta parameter retrackers (BETA5 and BETA9) and BAGP (Brown with asymmetric Gaussian Peak) retracker to get sea surface height (SSH), sea surface height anomaly (SSHA), significant wave height (SWH) and wind speed.


  • Amarouche L, Thibaut P, Zanife O.-Z, Dumont, P. Vincent J.-P. and Steunou N 2004. Improving the Jason-1 ground retracking to better account for attitude effects, Mar. Geod. 27: 171-197.
  • Brown, G. S. 1977. The Average impulse response of a rough surface and its applications, IEEE Trans. Antennas Propag. AP-25: 67-74.
  • Chelton, D. B., J. C. Ries, B. J. Haines, L. L. Fu, and P. S. Callahan, 2001, “Satellite Altimetry”,
  • Satellite Altimetry and Earth Sciences, ed. L.L. Fu and A. Cazenave, pp. 1-131.
  • Chaudhary A., Basu S., Kumar R, Mahesh, C. and Sharma R. 2015.” Shape classification of AltiKa 40-Hz waveforms using Linear Discriminant Analysis and Bayes Decision Rule in the Gujarat Coastal region “Marine Geodesy.
  • Coastal and Hydrology Altimetry product (PISTACH) handbook, CLS-DOS-NT-10-246, SALP-MU-P-OP-16031-CN 01/00, 1. 0, Oct. 4, 2010
  • Deng, X., and W. E. Featherstone. 2006. A coastal retracking system for satellite radar altimeter waveforms: Application to ERS-2 around Australia. J. Geophys. Res. 111: doi:10.1029/2005JC003039.
  • Deng, X. 2003. “Improvement of geodetic parameter estimation in coastal regions from satellite radar altimetry.” PhD. Dissertation, Curtin University of Technology, Perth, Australia.
  • Halimi, A., C. Mailhes, J. – Y. Tourneret, P. Thibaut, and F. Boy. 2013. Parameter estimation for peaky altimetric waveforms. IEEE Trans. Geosci. Rem. Sens., 51: 1568-1577.
  • The PISTACH project for coastal altimetry: Status, products and early results, in Proc. OST-ST Meeting, Seattle, WA.
  • Nelder, J.A. and Mead R. 1965. A simplex method for function minimization. Computer Journal, vol 7, no. 4, 308-313.
  • Ray, R. D., 1999, A global ocean tide model from TOPEX/POSEIDON altimetry: GOT99.2, NASA Tech. Memorandum 1999-209478, Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD.
  • SARAL/AltiKa Products Handbook, SALP-MU-M-OP-15984-CN, 2, 4, December 9, 2013
  • Sindhu, B., I. Suresh, A. S. Unnikrishnan, N. V. Bhatkar, S.Neetu and G. S. Michael 2007. Improved bathymetric data sets for the shallow water regions in the Indian Ocean. J. Earth Syst. Sci.,116,61–274.
  • Sreejith, K.M., Rajesh, S., Majumdar, T.J., Srinivasa Rao G., Radhakrishna, M., Krishna, K.S., Rajawat A.S., 2013. High-resolution residual geoid and gravity anomaly data of the northern Indian Ocean - an input to geological understanding. J. Asian Earth Sci. 62, 616–626.

Derivation Techniques and Algorithm

  • User should refer User Handbook “Moving closer to the coast by SARAL/AltiKa: Geophysical Product for Indian Mainland Region” for complete reference to the algorithm and processing steps. For Handbook Click Here


  • Based on the availability of the Altimeter dataset over the study region (Data Gap, altimeter track loss, bad weather, etc.). Geophysical and atmospheric range corrections have been obtained from the standard 1-Hz product of SARAL/AltiKa.

Known problems with data

  • Data problems due to bad weather (heavy rain).
  • Onboard tracker failure leads to unusable data.
  • Coastal contamination may lead to erroneous estimate of the derived parameters.

File Naming Convention

  • Netcdf file:
  • JPG Files:
  • ssha_cycCCC_yyyymmdd_yymmdd.jpg (sea surface height anomaly image)
  • swh_cycCCC_yyyymmdd_yymmdd.jpg (swh image)
  • wind_speed_cycCCC_yyyymmdd_yymmdd.jpg (wind speed image)
  • Where
  • CCC is the cycle number and TTTT is the track number.,
  • first yyyymmddHHMMSS is the start time of the file., and
  • second yyyymmddHHMMSS is the end time of the file..


Sr. No Core Metadata Elements Definition
1 Metadata language English
2 Metadata Contact MOSDAC
3 Metadata date October, 2016
4 Data Lineage or Quality Sea surface height, Significant wave height, wind speed in coastal regions using radar altimeters
5 Title SARAL/AltiKa Coastal Product (Indian region).
6 Abstract SARAL, a joint ISRO-CNES satellite mission, was successfully launched in 2013. It carries a Ka band single frequency satellite altimeter (AltiKa). Satellite altimeters are primarily used to study sea level changes. In the open ocean, the altimetric echo follows a standard shape, with steeply rising leading edge followed by a trailing edge with gradually diminishing power. This standard shape is in agreement with the theoretical Brown model and hence can be easily modeled. However, in the coastal areas, due to the presence of land and other coastal featues in the footprint of the altimeter, contamination occurs and the return is different from open ocean. Up to some extent these contaminations can be modeled. Footprint size of SARAL/Altika is small which is ideal for coastal studies. The available ocean retracker (MLE4) itself shows good performance near the coast. However, further improvemnts can be achieved by using algorithms which can simulate contaminations impact in the coastal areas. In this document we have used various models for the return waveforms at 40 Hz to extract maximum information from the altimeter. Our results show that algorithms which are useful in the coastal areas are BETA5, BETA9 and Brown with Asymmetric Gaussian Peak (BAGP).
7 Dataset Contact Aditya Chaudhary, OSD/AOSG/EPSA, Space Applications Centre (ISRO), Ahmedabad 380015,
8 Update frequency 35 cycles of SARAL/AltiKa have been processed. After this, cycles are not in exact repeat mode.
9 Access Rights or Restriction Open Access
10 Spatial Resolution Data is provided at 40 Hz which corresponds to spatial resolution of nearly 180m.
11 Language English
12 Topic Category Coastal Altimetry
13 Keywords Satellite altimetry, waveform retracking, sea level, significant wave height, waveform classification
14 Date or period Cycle 1 to Cycle 35 of SARAL/AltiKa (March 2013 to July 2016)
15 Responsible Party Aditya Chaudhary,OSD/AOGG/ EPSA, Space Applications Centre (ISRO), Ahmedabad-380015, India
16 Organization Space Applications Centre (ISRO), Ahmedabad, India
16a Org. role Retreival of Geophysical parameters from satellite altimeter over the Indian Coast
16b Individual name Aditya Chaudhary, OSD/AOSG/EPSA, SAC (ISRO), Ahmedabad-380015, India. Ph: +91 79 2691 6051. Email:
16c Position Scientist/Engineer, OSD/AOSG/EPSA, SAC (ISRO), Ahmedabad-380015, India. Ph: +91 79 2691 6051. Email:
17 Geographic Extent lat_min: 05N, lat_max: 24N, lon_min: 68E, lon_max: 90E
18 Geographic name, geographic Identifier Indian Coastal Region
19 Bounding box lat_min: 05N, lat_max: 24N, lon_min: 68E, lon_max: 90E
20 Temporal Extent March 2013 to July 2016
21 Access Rights or Restrictions Open Access
22 Distribution Information Online download in netcdf formats.
23 Processing Level Level 3 (Data product derived from altimeter S-IGDR product)
24 Reference System Datum: WGS84