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A large body of information from a number of sources is brought together and an error budget is deduced giving the projected overall height uncertainty correction for a suggested next generation high-precision radar altimeter. Uncertainties introduced by the wet and dry troposphere, clouds, and the ionosphere are reviewed. A suggested next-generation precision altimeter is assumed to be dual frequency (13.5 and 6 GHz) designed to correct out the ionospheric error. The altimeter-carrying satellite will include a nadir pointing near coincidentbeam dual-frequency microwave radiometer for mitigating the wet tropospheric uncertainty. Although there are a number of caveats, the combined uncertainty in the height correction due to the atmosphere for the suggested system should be nominally 3 cm rms compared to at least 6 cm associated with the Seasat-A mission. Improvements in height resolution of the kind referred to here are vital for future satellite missions designed to monitor ocean currents (e.g., TOPEX).