Geophysical Research Letters

Ship-based measurements of sea surface topography



[1] By equipping the research vessel Kilo Moana with a geodetic GPS receiver and a radar water level gauge, and using a kinematic GPS processing package, accurate 1 Hz estimates of the sea surface height were obtained. Geodetic positioning of ocean-platforms using only the GPS system cannot account for changes in the draft of the platform. This is especially problematic for ships, where changes in the load, speed and/or ocean density can change the ship's draft by 10s of centimeters. By installing a radar gauge this noise source can be removed from the estimates of the sea surface height. We envision that this technology could routinely provide high resolution information on the geoid, or the variation of the sea surface height, including sea-state, from an existing reference geoid.