On using satellite altimetry to determine the general circulation of the oceans with application to geoid improvement


  • Carl Wunsch,

  • E. M. Gaposchkin


We describe the problem of combining hydrography with marine geodesy and satellite altimetry for the purpose of determining the general circulation of the oceans, defining the eddy field, and improving the marine geoid. The critical problem is to understand the error budgets of four fields: orbit, height measurement, geoid, and ocean water density. Corrections must be made for atmospheric load, tides, tropospheric water vapor, wave height, and other parameters. A general formalism for deducing the geoid and ocean circulation is obtained in terms of inverse theory and applied to some limited examples.