Welcome to the International Coastal Altimetry Community

In the last few years, considerable research has been carried out into extending the capabilities of current and future altimeters as close as possible to the coast, with the ultimate aim to integrate the altimeter-derived measurements of sea level, wind speed and significant wave height into coastal ocean observing systems. At the same time the major Space Agencies have recognized the importance of coastal altimetry and are sustaining coastal altimetry research through dedicated projects. This new coastal altimetry community, inherently interdisciplinary, has already had eight well-attended international workshops (see below and http://www.coastalaltimetry.org), and has produced a book on the subject, plus a Community White Paper for the OceanObs'09 conference.



Our mailing list: COASTALT-SWT

The Coastal Altimetry Science Working Team (COASTALT-SWT) is an informal grouping of scientists around a mailing list [coastalt-swt] for quick and efficient exchange of information, results and news on Coastal Altimetry.
The list is hosted on the NOC server and has more than 200 international contacts. It is the most effective way of reaching out to the coastal altimetry community.
COASTALT-SWT reports informally to the Ocean Surface Topography Science Team, which we see a bit like our 'parent' group. Please contact Paolo Cipollini or Stefano Vignudelli if you are interested in joining the mailing list or posting an item.

Our Workshops:

10th Coastal Altimetry Workshop - Florence, Italy, 21-24 February 2017 - The Workshop Report is now online -  Presentations will be online soon

This included sessions on studies using the new Jason-3 and Sentinel-3 data, and special sessions jointly with the Altimetry for Regional and Coastal Models (ARCOM) community of GODAE COSS-TT, and the Sea Level community and data providers.

The workshop was accompanied by a SAR Altimetry Training Course for the benefit of early career scientists and any satellite oceanographer who’d like to get more familiar with the SAR mode on CryoSat-2 and Sentinel-3.


9th COASTAL ALTIMETRY WORKSHOP WEB PAGE - the 9th Coastal Altimetry Workshop was held on Sun 18 - Mon 19 October 2015  at the Hyatt Regency in Reston, VA, on the US East Coast - same location as OSTST which followed on Tue 20 to Fri 23 October

8th Coastal Altimetry Workshop - Lake Constance, Germany, 23-24 October 2014  - Agenda, Presentations and Posters and the Workshop summary talk given by Paolo at OSTST2014

7th Coastal Altimetry Workshop - Boulder (CO, USA) 7-8 October 2013 - Agenda, Presentations and Posters and a short summary of the Workshop.

6th Coastal Altimetry Workshop - Riva del Garda (Italy) 20-21 September 2012 - Agenda, Presentations and Posters and a short summary of the Workshop.

5th Coastal Altimetry Workshop - San Diego (USA) 16-18 October 2011 - Agenda, Presentations and Posters and Summary of the Workshop.

4th Coastal Altimetry Workshop - Porto (Portugal) 14-15 October 2010 - Agenda, Presentations and Posters  

3rd Coastal Altimetry Workshop - Frascati (Italy) 17-18 Sept 2009 - Agenda, Presentations and Posters (follow link to "Programme")

2nd Coastal Altimetry Workshop - Pisa (Italy) 6-7 Nov 2008 - Agenda, Presentations and Posters

1st Coastal Altimetry Workshop - Silver Spring (USA) 5-7 Feb 2008 - Agenda and Presentations

Our book

Vignudelli, S., A. Kostianoy, P. Cipollini, J. Benveniste (eds.)(2011). Coastal Altimetry, Springer, doi: 10.1007/978-3-642-12796-0. See also a full table of contents.


Datasets for coastal altimetry - table from Cipollini et al., Surv. Geophys., 2017,  updated as new dataset become available


ID Produced by Altimeter Product level Posting  Coverage Download from Comments
AVISO CLS, CNES e1,tx,e2, en, j1, j2, c2 (LRM/PRLM), sa, h2 L2, L3, L4 1 Hz Global + european regions + arctic + SW Indian AVISO+ Widely used reference dataset processed with standard techniques. Distribution of Global, Mediterranean Sea, Black Sea products is migrating to CMEMS during 2016
CNES also L4
CMEMS CLS e1,tx,e2, en, j1, j2, c2 (LRM/PRLM), sa (s3a to be added soon) L3 1 Hz Global + european regions marine.copernicus.eu Marine Environment Monitoring Service of the EC/ESA Copernicus Programme, providing products and services for all marine applications
CNES L3 for assimilation
PISTACH CLS j2 L2 20 Hz Global AVISO+ Experimental Jason-2 products for Hydrology and Coastal studies with specific processing. Will be discontinued at the end of 2016 in favour of PEACHI
PEACHI CLS sa, (j2 to be added soon) L2 40 Hz Global AVISO+ Experimental SARAL/AltiKa products including dedicated retracking and corrections leading to more accurate products for coastal zones, hydrology and ice. From 2017 expected to generate also j2 products
X-TRACK LEGOS-CTOH tx, j1, j2, gfo, en  L2, L3 1 Hz 23 regions CTOH Specific processing using improved data screening and latest corrections available (see section 6)
20Hz (test) AVISO+
RADS EUMETSAT, NOAA, TUDelft gs, e1, tx, pn, e2, gfo, j1, n1, j2, c2, sa L2 1 Hz Global TUDelft Widely used dataset, mirrored by tens of sites worldwide, with continuously updated corrections, but no specific coastal processing
ALES NOC j2, n1, (j1, j3 to be added soon) L2 20 Hz Global, <50 km from coast PODAAC Experimental products from the ALES processor included in SGDR-type files alongside the standard products and corrections.
SARvatore ESA-ESRIN c2 (SAR only) L2

20 Hz

SAR mode  regions ESA GPOD On-demand Processing service for the CryoSat-2 SAR mode data where the user can configure some processing parameters to meet specific requirements (for istance for the coastal zone)
COP ESA c2 (LRM/PLRM) L2 20 Hz Global ESA Global products for CryoSat-2 from an Ocean processor (output is in PLRM over the SAR mode regions) - but no specific coastal processing
COSTA DGFI-TUM e2, en (j1,j2,e1 to be added soon) L3


20 Hz


and North Sea

PANGAEA Dedicated coastal altimetry sea level measurements based on enhanced ALES retracker
The abbreviations used for the altimeters are gs: Geosat (1985-1989); e1:  ERS-1 (1991-1996); tx: TOPEX (1992-2002); pn: Poseidon (1992-2002); e2: ERS-2 (1995-2011); gfo: Geosat Follow-On-1 (2000-2008); j1: Jason-1 (2002-2013); en: Envisat (2002-2012); j2: Jason-2 (2008-present); c2: CryoSat-2 (2010-present); sa: SARAL/AltiKa (2013-present); h2: HY-2A (2014-present);  j3: Jason-3 (2016-present); s3a: Sentinel-3A (2016-present). For CryoSat-2 (c2) a further specification is added when data are only avaiable from the Low-Resolution Mode and Pseudo-Low Resolution Mode (LRM/PLRM) or only from the SAR-mode regions
Product levels: L2: along-track data with corrections; L3: data gridded on regular grids in space and time; L4: products derived from analysis of multiple measurements, such as climatologies

Early initiatives

The 2006 Beijing workshop

The ALTICORE project (site under maintenance)