The OGDRs include estimates of significant wave height, wind speed, and a first estimate of sea surface height based on orbit data and atmospheric corrections available in real time.
They are disseminated to users within three hours of observation. IGDRs are distributed within two days of observation and provide more accurate estimates of sea surface height thanks to improved orbit determination.
Over recent months, engineers from CNES, EUMETSAT, NOAA and NASA and scientists from the international Ocean Surface Topography Science Team have been evaluating the Jason-3 OGDRs and IGDRs.
During this period, Jason-3 was flying in tandem with Jason-2, approximately 80 seconds apart, for the purpose of cross-calibration of sea surface height measurements at sub-centimetre level.
The OGDR and IGDR products will now be used worldwide for sea state forecasting, monitoring of marine environment and assimilation into models of the ocean or the coupled ocean-atmosphere system for ocean and seasonal forecasting.
Dr Saleh Abdalla, a scientist at ECMWF, said: “The assimilation of Jason-3 OGDR sea surface height and significant wave height into the ECMWF Integrated Forecasting System improves the operational medium- to long-range weather forecasts and surface wind speed and total column water vapour measurements are important for model verification.”
During the first Jason-3 verification workshop on 21 June, the European and US partners in the programme also decided to switch the operational service from Jason-2 to Jason-3 and to move Jason-2 to an interleaved orbit in Mid-September, to increase space and time coverage in line with user needs.
EUMETSAT Director of Operations and Services to Users Livio Mastroddi said: “This milestone opens EUMETSAT’s delivery of operational Jason-3 data services to the EU Copernicus flagship Earth observation programme.”