Marine Science Faculty Publications

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TOPEX measurements of sea level variability have been compared to tide gauge measurements from 40 sites and to dynamic topography measurements computed from temperatures recorded at 23 Tropical Ocean-Global Atmosphere (TOGA)-Tropical Atmosphere-Ocean (TAO) buoys in the eastern Pacific and mean temperature-salinity profiles. Buoy data in the western Pacific were not used because of large long-term slopes in the data that appear to be due to interannual salinity variations. The relative drift between TOPEX and the two different in situ sets of data agree within 1 mm yr−1, with a weighted average of −2.6 mm yr−1 and an estimated uncertainty of 1.5 mm yr−1, if values from an internal calibration of the TOPEX altimeter are applied. The consistency of the two relative drifts suggests that the slope is due at least in part to a drift in the TOPEX measurement. A substantial portion of this drift may be due to a drift in the TOPEX microwave radiometer (TMR), since comparisons with three independent external measurements indicate a drift in sea level due to the TMR measurement of about −2 mm yr−1.

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Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, v. 103, issue C6, p. 12885-12890

Copyright 1998 by the American Geophysical Union

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