The use of ERS-1 crossovers and TOPEX/Poseidon repeat pass data for global sea surface variability studies

  • Matthew D. Reynolds

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


In previous sea-surface variability studies, researchers have failed to utilise the full ERS-1 mission due to the varying orbital characteristics in each mission phase, and most have simply ignored the Ice and Geodetic phases. This project aims to introduce a technique which will allow the straightforward use of all orbital phases, regardless of orbit type. This technique is based upon single satellite crossovers.
Unfortunately the ERS-1 orbital height is still poorly resolved (due to higher air drag and stronger gravitational effects) when compared with that of TOPEX/Poseidon (T/P), so to make best use of the ERS-1 crossover data corrections to the ERS-1 orbital heights are calculated by fitting a cubic-spline to dual-crossover residuals with T/P. This correction is validated by comparison of dual satellite crossovers with tide gauge data.
The crossover processing technique is validated by comparing the extracted sea-surface variability information with that from T/P repeat pass data. The two data sets are then combined into a single consistent data set for analysis of sea-surface variability patterns. These patterns are simplified by the use of an empirical orthogonal function decomposition which breaks the signals into spatial modes which are then discussed separately. Further studies carried out on these data include an analysis of the characteristics of the annual signal, discussion of evidence for Rossby wave propagation on a global basis, and finally analysis of the evidence for global mean sea level rise.
Date of AwardSept 1998
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorPhilip Moore (Supervisor)


  • single and dual satallite crossovers
  • ERS-1
  • TOPEX/Poseidon
  • sea surface variability
  • Rossby wave
  • orbit error correction

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