The impact of the dynamic sea surface topography on the quasi-geoid in shallow coastal waters

Slobbe, D.; Klees, R.
March 2014
Journal of Geodesy;Mar2014, Vol. 88 Issue 3, p241
Academic Journal
In this study, we examine the impact of instantaneous dynamic sea surface topography (DT) corrections to be applied to altimeter-derived sea surface slopes on the quasi-geoid in the shallow and coastal waters of the North Sea. In particular, we investigate the added value of DT corrections obtained from a shallow-water hydrodynamic model. These corrections comprise the contributions of ocean tides, wind- and pressure-driven (surge), and density-driven (baroclinic) water-level variations including the interactions between them. As a reference, we used tidal corrections derived from the global ocean tide model GOT4.7, surge corrections derived from the MOG2D model, and corrections for the time-averaged baroclinic contribution computed as differences between the DTU10 mean sea surface model and the EGG08 quasi-geoid. From a spectral analysis, we found that the baroclinic and surge parts of the DT mainly contribute to improvements in the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) at longer wavelengths down to $$100{-}200~\hbox {km}$$ and that the improvements increase towards the southern North Sea. We also found that the shallow-water hydrodynamic model provides better tidal corrections compared to the GOT4.7 global ocean tide model, which are most pronounced in the southern North Sea and affect almost the entire spectrum. Very small differences (mostly below $${\pm } 2~\hbox {cm}$$ ) are observed between the quasi-geoid solutions obtained using the different sets of DT corrections. We showed that the variance component estimation provides too optimistic variance factors for the shipboard data set relative to the altimeter-derived quasi-geoid slopes. Hence, the limited impact of DT corrections is due to the fact that altimeter-derived quasi-geoid slopes hardly contribute to the estimated quasi-geoid if shipboard gravity data are included. When computing quasi-geoid solutions without shipboard gravity data, we found that less accurate or incomplete DT corrections may cause errors in the quasi-geoid with systematic spatial patterns. These systematic patterns disappear or are reduced significantly when using the DT corrections provided by the shallow-water hydrodynamic model. The main contributor to this improvement is the better tidal correction provided by the shallow-water hydrodynamic model compared to the GOT4.7 global ocean tide model. Seen the improvements of the global ocean tide models over the last two decades, we expect that in the near future global ocean tide models perform as well as dedicated regional models such as DCSM. Critical issue is, however, access to high-quality local bathymetric data.


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