Geophysical surveys

, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp 117–129

Sea-surface topography around Australia

  • H. L. Mitchell

DOI: 10.1007/BF01447940

Cite this article as:
Mitchell, H.L. Geophysical Surveys (1975) 2: 117. doi:10.1007/BF01447940


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.

Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. L. Mitchell
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Western AustraliaPerthAustralia
  2. 2.Division of National MappingCanberraAustralia