The overall objectives are to realize precise, repetitive global measurements of sea surface height, significant wave heights and wind speed for:
- The development of operational oceanography (the study of mesoscale ocean viability, coastal region observations, inland waters, marine ecosystems, etc.)
- Understanding of climate and developing forecasting capabilities
- Operational meteorology.
The SARAL mission is considered to be complementary to the Jason-2 mission of NASA/NOAA and CNES/EUMETSAT (it is also regarded a gap filler mission between Envisat and the Sentinel-3 mission of the European GMES program). The combination of two altimetry missions in orbit has a considerable impact on the reconstruction of SSH (Sea Surface Height), reducing the mean mapping error by a factor of 4.