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Proceedings of OceanObs'09: Sustained Ocean Observations and Information for Society

COMMUNITY WHITE PAPER10.5270/OceanObs09.cwp.80

Geodetic Observations of the Ocean Surface Topography, Geoid, Currents, and Changes in Ocean Mass and Volume

C. K. Shum(1), Hans-Peter Plag(2), Jens Schröter(3), Victor Zlotnicki(4), Peter Bender(5), A. Braun(6), Anny Cazenave(7), Don Chamber(8), Jianbin Duan(9), William Emery(10), Georgia Fotopoulos(6), Viktor Gouretski(11), Richard Gross(4), Thomas Gruber(12), Junyi Guo(9), Guoqi Han(13), Chris Hughes(14), Masayoshi Ishii(15), Steven Jayne(16), Johnny Johannessen(17), Per Knudsen(18), Chungyen Kuo(19), Eric Leuliette(20), Sydney Levitus(21), Nikolai Maximenko(22), Laury Miller(23), James Morison(24), Harunur Rashid(25), John Ries(26), Markus Rothacher(27), Reiner Rummel(28), Kazuo Shibuya(29), Michael Sideris(30), Y. Tong Song(4), Detlef Stammer(31), Mark Thomas(32), Josh Willis(4), Philip Woodworth(14)

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The tools of geodesy have the potential to transform the Ocean Observing System. Geodetic observations are unique in the way that these methods produce accurate, quantitative, and integrated observations of gravity, ocean circulation, sea surface height, ocean bottom pressure, and mass exchanges among the ocean, cryosphere, and land. These observations have made fundamental contributions to the monitoring and understanding of physical ocean processes. In particular, geodesy is the fundamental science to enable determination of an accurate geoid model, allowing estimate of absolute surface geostrophic currents, which are necessary to quantify ocean's heat transport. The present geodetic satellites can measure sea level, its mass component and their changes, both of which are vital for understanding global climate change. Continuation of current satellite missions and the development of new geodetic technologies can be expected to further support accurate monitoring of the ocean. The Global Geodetic Observing System (GGOS) of the International Association of Geodesy (IAG) provides the means for integrating the geodetic techniques that monitor the Earth's time-variable surface geometry (including ocean, hydrologic, land, and ice surfaces), gravity field, and Earth rotation/orientation into a consistent system for measuring ocean surface topography, ocean currents, ocean mass and volume changes. This system depends on both globally coordinated ground-based networks of tracking stations as well as an uninterrupted series of satellite missions. GGOS works with the Group on Earth Observations (GEO), the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS) and space agencies to ensure the availability of the necessary expertise and infrastructure. In this white paper, we summarize the community consensus of critical oceanographic observables currently enabled by geodetic systems, and the requirements to continue such measurements. Achieving this potential will depend on merging the remote sensing techniques with in situ measurements of key variables as an integral part of the Ocean Observing System.

1Division of Geodetic Science, School of Earth Sciences, Ohio State University, 275 Mendenhall, 125 S. Oval Mall 43210 Columbus (US)
2Nevada Bureau of Mines & Geology & Seismology Lab., University of Nevada, Mail Stop 178, 1664 N. Virginia Street, 89557 Reno Nevada 89557, USA
3Alfred-Wegener-Institute for Polar & Marine Research, Postfach 120161, D-27515 Bremerhaven, Germany
4Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, 4800 Oak Grove Dr., Pasadena, CA 91109 USA
5Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics, University of Colorado & NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology), 440 University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309-5004 USA
6Department of Geosciences, University of Texas at Dallas, FO 21, 800 West Campbell Road, Richardson, TX 75080-302 USA
7LEGOS (Laboratoire d'Études en Géophysique et Océanographie), Centre National d'Études Spatiales, 18, av. Edouard Belin, 31401 Toulouse Cedex 9, France
8College of Marine Science, University of South Florida, 140 7th Ave S, St. Petersburg, FL 33701 USA
9Division of Geodetic Science, School of Earth Sciences, Ohio State University, 275 Mendenhall, 125 S. Oval Mall 43210 Columbus USA
10Colorado Center for Astrodynamics Research, University of Colorado, ECNT 320, 431 UCB, Boulder, CO 80309-0431 USA
11KlimaCampus Universität Hamburg, Bundesstr. 53, 20146 Hamburg, Germany
12Institute of Astronomy & Physical Geodesy, Technische Universität Muenchen, Arcisstraße 21. D-80333 München. Germany
13Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Centre, P.O. Box 5667. St. John's NL A1C 5X1 Canada
14Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory, 6 Brownlow St, Liverpool, Merseyside L3 5DA, United Kingdom
15Frontier Research Center for Global Change, 3173-25 Showamachi, Kanazawa-ku, Yokohama City, Kanagawa 236-0001, Japan
16Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 266 Woods Hole Road, Woods Hole, MA 02543, USA
17Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Center, Thormøhlensgt. 47, N-5006 Bergen, Norway
18National Space Institute, Technical University of Denmark, Anker Engelunds Vej 1. Building 101A, 2nd Floor 2800 Kgs. Lyngby, Denmark
19Department of Geomatics, National Cheng Kung University, No. 1, University Road, Tainan 701,Taiwan
20Laboratory for Satellite Altimetry, NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), Silver Spring MD 20910-3282, USA.
21Ocean Climate Laboratory, National Ocean Data Center, NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), 1315 East-West Highway E/OC1 Silver Spring USA
22International Pacific Research Center, University of Hawaii, 1680 East West Road, Honolulu, Hawaii 96822, USA
23Laboratory for Satellite Altimetry, NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), Silver Spring MD 20910-3282. USA.
24Polar Science Center, Applied Physics Lab, University of Washington, 1013 NE 40th St, Seattle, WA 98105-6698, USA
25Byrd Polar Research Center, Ohio State University, Enarson Hall 154 W 12th Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43210 USA
26Center for Space Research, University of Texas at Austin, 3925 West Braker Lane, Suite 200, Austin, Texas 78759-5321 USA
27Institute of Geodesy & Photogrammetry, ETH (Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule) Zurich, HG F37/38/39/41/43, Rämistrasse 101, 8092 Zurich, Switzerland
28Institute of Astronomy & Physical Geodesy, Technische Universität Muenchen, Arcisstrasse 21. D-80333 München. Germany
29CAEM (Commission for Aeronautical Meteorology), National Institute of Polar Research, 10-3, Midoricho, Tachikawa, Tokyo 190-8518, Japan
30Department of Geomatics Engineering, University of Calgary, 2500 University Dr. NW, Calgary, Alberta T2N 1N4 Canada
31Center for Marine and Climate Research, KlimaCampus Universitat Hamburg, Bundesstr. 53, 20146 Hamburg, Germany
32GFZ (German Research Centre for Geosciences/GeoForschungsZentrum), Telegrafenberg, 14473 Potsdam, Germany

Correspondence should be addressed to E-mail: ckshum@osu.edu

This paper shall be cited as:

Shum, C. & Co-Authors (2010). "Geodetic Observations of the Ocean Surface Topography, Geoid, Currents, and Changes in Ocean Mass and Volume" in Proceedings of OceanObs’09: Sustained Ocean Observations and Information for Society (Vol. 2), Venice, Italy, 21-25 September 2009, Hall, J., Harrison, D.E. & Stammer, D., Eds., ESA Publication WPP-306, doi:10.5270/OceanObs09.cwp.80

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