Information on Satellite Radar Altimetry

The best book to consult for learning about sea levels measured from space by satellite radar altimetry is:

although it is aimed more at a scientific research than student level. More basic treatments can be found in:

There is also a considerable amount of information on altimetry available on the web. See in particular:

JPL's Ocean Surface Topography from Space
NOAA Laboratory for Satellite Altimetry
AVISO Altimetry
Topex/Poseidon Educational Outreach (Univ. Texas)

Other sites have different mixtures of data sets and educational material. Check out the following sites:

The Broadview Radar Altimetry Toolbox (BRAT) including the Radar Altimetry Tutorial from ESA / CNES
PODAAC, Jet Propulsion Laboratory
NASA Earth Science
Information Page of CERSAT
Center for Space Research, University of Texas
AVISO, France Altimeter Mission Guide
Delft University of Technology
University of Colorado Steve Nerem Global Sea Level page

If a main interest is in data sets, then note that 'high-level' data products (sea level or sea surface height) are available in near-real time in several of the sites (e.g., Colorado, US Navy, NOAA, AVISO etc). Be aware that the basic data are usually on 'tracks' and are not 'images' as with other satellite systems. While the track data are more appropriate for many problems, gridded data (such as that from AVISO) can sometimes be used effectively in some applications.

A guide to satellites in general (not just altimeter satellites) can be found via the: JPL Mission and Spacecraft Library