Sea level variations: Monitoring the breath of the Pacific



The growing Interest in the changes of our environment and in short-term climatic fluctuations, together with the realization that the interaction between ocean and atmosphere plays a significant role in the sefluctuations, has emphasized the need to monitor changes in the ocean environment. The two parameters central to the role of the ocean in its interaction with the atmosphere are ocean heat storage and advection of heat by ocean circulation. The ocean's heat content can be easily observed by vertical temperature soundings with relatively in expensive instrumentation, but the determination of heat advection constitutes a much more for midable problem. Continuous direct observations of the flow field are extremely expensive; thus indirect methods like the computation of geostrophic flow and measurements of sea surface topography will have to be used. After all, every long-term monitoring system will have to pass the test of cost efficiency. In this article I describe the concept of an ocean monitoring system using simple sea level gauges then demons trate its potential and present initial results derived from it.