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HYDROCOASTAL is a project funded by ESA to maximise exploitation of SAR and SARin altimeter measurements in the coastal zone and inland waters, by evaluating and implementing new approaches to process SAR and SARin data from CryoSat-2, and SAR altimeter data from Sentinel-3A and Sentinel-3B.

New SAR and SARin processing algorithms for the coastal zone and inland waters will be developed and implemented and evaluated through an initial Test Data Set for selected regions. From the results of this evaluation a processing scheme will be implemented to generate global coastal zone and river discharge data sets. Case studies will assess these products in terms of their scientific impacts.
All the produced data sets will be available on request to external researchers, and full descriptions of the processing algorithms will be provided.

Latest news


Fernandes, M. J., C. Lazaro, T. Vieira (2020) On the role of the troposphere in satellite altimetry, Remote Sensing of Environment 252 (2021) 112149, https://authors.elsevier.com/sd/article/S0034-4257(20)30522-8

Tarpanelli, A., F. Iodice, L. Brocca, M. Restano, J. Benveniste, (2020) River flow monitoring by Sentinel-3 OLCI and MODIS: comparison and combination, Remote Sens., 2020, 12(23), 3867 https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12233867

F. de Biasio, G. Baldin, S. Vignudelli (2020) Revisiting Vertical Land Motion and Sea Level Trends in the Northeastern Adriatic Sea Using Satellite Altimetry and Tide Gauge Data, J. Mar, Sci. Eng. 2020, 8, 949

Fall AGU 2020 poster: D. Cotton and the HYDROCOASTAL Project Team. Improving SAR Altimeter processing over the coastal zone and inland waters – The ESA HYDROCOASTAL project. AGU 1-17 December 2020

Science Review: 20th June 2020
Due to COVID-19 travel restrictions the Science Review was held by Video Conferencing

Highlights were

  • Review of the SAR Altimeter State of the Art
  • Presentation of candidate SAR altimeter processing algorithms
  • Agreement of the First Test Data Set and validation plans
  • Introduction of new work to be supported under a CCN: Inclusion of effects of Vertical Motion of Wave Particles in SAR altimeter processing (U Bonn), and Generation of Dry Troposphere Correction (U Porto)

Following this meeting, and after acceptance of the necessary deliverables (see documents page), Milestone 1 was successfully achieved.

Project Kick-Off: 25-26th February 2020 at ESA ESRIN

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Study examples

University of Bonn are working on CZ validation in this test site over the German Bight and Baltic Sea, showing Sentinel-3A ground tracks and locations of fiducial reference data from operational tide gauges of the BfG network (green triangle) and wave buoys (squares) and GPS stations (red dots):



Project Manager: David Cotton, SatOC (d.cotton at satoc.eu)


If you are interested in accessing any of the data sets contact the Project Manager at the above address.

Project activities

Task 1 (February to June 2020):
Scientific Review and Requirements Consolidation

  • Critical review of the state-of-the-art in the scientific fields related to this activity (Altimetry, Coastal and Inland Water).
  • Consolidate the requirements and define the most suitable methods and algorithms to be developed and the data products to be generated.

Science Review (June 2020): Confirm algorithms to be implemented and evaluated through the production of a test data set.

Task 2 (July 2020 to August 2021):
Algorithm Development, Implementation and Validation, Production of Global Data Sets

  • Develop, implement and test the algorithms.
  • Generate, and validate, test data sets for selected regions

Mid-term Review (June 2021): Assess the performance of the different processing algorithms and agree specification for processing and contents of Global Data Sets.

  • Global Coastal Zone and River Discharge (Medium-Large) Data Sets.
  • Experimental Small Rivers and Tributaries Data Set.

Task 3 (March 2021 to December 2021): Impact Assessment

Exploitation of Global Products in Impact Assessment Case Studies to assess impact of Global Products:

  • Processor Case Studies.
  • Joint Coastal Zone and Inland Water Impact Assessment,
  • Inland Water Impact Assessment.

Acceptance Review (December 2021): Present and review Impact Assessment Reports.

Task 4 (December 2021 - March 2022: Scientific Roadmap

Develop a Scientific Roadmap identifying scientific priority areas, including

  • Recommendations and guidance for future scientific data exploitation projects.
  • Recommendations for algorithmic evolutions within baseline processing.
  • Recommendations for future interferometric altimetry missions.

Final Review (March 2022): Presentation and review of project results.

Project team

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© Satellite Oceanographic Consultants Ltd 2020