The Danish National Space Center data set DNSC08 mean sea surface (MSS) is a new enhanced mapping of the mean sea surface height of the worlds oceans, derived from a combination of 12 years of satellite altimetry from a total of eight different satellites covering the period 1993–2004. It is the first global MSS without a polar gap including all of the Arctic Ocean by including laser altimetry from the ICESat mission. The mean dynamic topography (MDT) is the quantity that bridges the geoid and the mean sea surface constraining large-scale ocean circulation. Here we present a new high-resolution 1 min global MDT called DNSC08 MDT derived from the slightly smoothed difference between the DNSC08 MSS and the EGM2008 geoid. The derivation and quality control of the new DNSC08 MSS and DNSC08 MDT is presented in this paper along with suggestions for time period standardization of the MSS and MDT models. This way a consistent modeling of the interannual sea level variability is carried out before different MSS and MDT models are compared. Altimetric derived physical MSS can be converted into an “inverse barometer corrected MSS” by correcting the altimeter range for the inverse barometer effect of the atmosphere on the sea surface height. It is demonstrated that it is important to choose the right version of the MSS when comparing with hydrodynamic models and GPS measured tide gauges.