, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp 117-129

Sea-surface topography around Australia

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Abstract

The sea-surface topographys, as represented by the separation between the ocean surface and a level surface, is viewed as a problem involving and concerning both geodesy and physical oceanography. The determination of this topography bygeodetic levelling processes, in conjunction with tide-gauge observation, is examined. Sources of error, difficulties, estimates of accuracies, and actual results are mainly related to the third-order Australian levelling net, which has indicated a sea-surface topography variation, with position, of 2 m, with a standard deviation estimated to be about 30 cm. The expectedoceanographic influences on the sea-level are described, the individual contributing factors being discussed separately. Around Australia, differences in water density can account for an estimated 60 cm of the above mentioned 200 cm sea-level variation, while the airpressure effect appears to account for another 10 cm only. The wind influence undoubtedly also contributes to the sea-surface topography but it is presently virtually impossible to provide a suitable figure. Some discussion is given to the apparent differences between the results from these separate sources, for this continent.