Synthetic geoid and the estimation of mesoscale absolute topography from altimeter data

David L. Porter, Allan R. Robinson, Scott M. Glenn, Ella B. Dobson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


A 'synthetic geoid' is an estimation of the medium spatial scale variations of the true marine geoid. It is calculated by subtracting from an altimeter-derived mean sea surface an estimate of mean sea-surface displacement obtained from a dynamical ocean model initialized with remotely sensed and in situ data. Estimates of the absolute sea-surface topography for oceanic mesoscale variability (current meanders and eddies) are obtained from Geosat altimetric data using a synthetic geoid and are compared with observations and model results. This method is compared with results obtained by differencing sea-surface heights along individual tracks from the altimetric mean sea surface and with those obtained by differencing two individual repeat tracks from each other. Excellent results are obtained for the Gulf Stream region, for several cases of the ocean region between Greenland and the United Kingdom, and for an isolated eddy observed in the northeastern Atlantic Ocean.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)369-379
Number of pages11
JournalJohns Hopkins APL Technical Digest (Applied Physics Laboratory)
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 1989
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Engineering(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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