Improvement of Geoid and Mean Sea Surface Models for Oceanographic Applications

University of Texas at Austin
Center for Space Research

The objective of this investigation is directed toward planning for Earth Observing System Radar Altimeter (EOS-R-ALT) mission data applications by

  1. Improving the global geoid model to allow more accurate measurements of ocean surface dynamic topography


  2. Improving the mean sea surface model to support studies of ocean surface variability.
Geocentric sea surface heights are currently being measured with an unprecedented accuracy of less than 5 cm rms with a temporal resolution of 10 days by the TOPEX/POSEIDON radar altimeter. However, the use of these measurements to infer the mean oceanic circulation requires an accurate marine geoid model. The accuracy of the best geoid model (JGM-3) is useful at scales longer than 1000-1500 km, where the estimated accuracy is about 10 cm rms. The investigation described here utilizes new approaches and incorporates new data sets to improve the accuracy of the global marine geoid.
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