Real-time sea-level monitoring using Kalman filtering of GNSS-R data
Journal article, 2019

Current GNSS-R (GNSS reflectometry) techniques for sea surface measurements require data collection over longer periods, limiting their usability for real-time applications. In this work, we present a new, alternative GNSS-R approach based on the unscented Kalman filter and the so-called inverse modeling approach. The new method makes use of a mathematical description that relates SNR (signal-to-noise ratio) variations to multipath effects and uses a B-spline formalism to obtain time series of reflector height. The presented algorithm can provide results in real time with a precision that is significantly better than spectral inversion methods and almost comparable to results from inverse modeling in post-processing mode. To verify the performance, the method has been tested at station GTGU at the Onsala Space Observatory, Sweden, and at the station SPBY in Spring Bay, Australia. The RMS (root mean square) error with respect to nearby tide gauge data was found to be 2.0 cm at GTGU and 4.8 cm at SPBY when evaluating the output corresponding to real-time analysis. The method can also be applied in post-processing, resulting in RMS errors of 1.5 cm and 3.3 cm for GTGU and SPBY, respectively. Finally, based on SNR data from GTGU, it is also shown that the Kalman filter approach is able to detect the presence of sea ice with a higher temporal resolution than the previous methods and traditional remote sensing techniques which monitor ice in coastal regions.

Sea ice

Time series


Sea level

Kalman Filtering

Unscented Kalman filter (UKF)

Real time


Joakim Strandberg

Chalmers, Space, Earth and Environment, Onsala Space Observatory

Thomas Hobiger

Chalmers, Space, Earth and Environment, Onsala Space Observatory

University of Stuttgart

Rüdiger Haas

Chalmers, Space, Earth and Environment, Onsala Space Observatory

GPS Solutions

1080-5370 (ISSN) 15211886 (eISSN)

Vol. 23 3 61

Subject Categories

Remote Sensing


Onsala Space Observatory



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