IAG 150 Years pp 491-500 | Cite as

Observing and Modelling the High Water Level from Satellite Radar Altimetry During Tropical Cyclones

  • Xiaoli DengEmail author
  • Zahra Gharineiat
  • Ole B. Andersen
  • Mark G. Stewart
Conference paper
Part of the International Association of Geodesy Symposia book series (IAG SYMPOSIA, volume 143)


This paper investigates the capability of observing tropical cyclones using satellite radar altimetry. Two representative cyclones Yasi (February 2011) and Larry (March 2006) in the northeast Australian coastal area are selected based also on available tide gauge sea level measurements. It is shown that altimetry data can capture high water levels induced by Larry and Yasi through a careful re-processing and re-editing of the data. About 18 years of data from multi-satellite altimetry missions including TOPEX/Poseidon, Jason-1 and Jason-2, and seven tide gauges around the northern Australian coast are integrated using a multivariate regression approach. The results reveal that the multi-regression model can, in general, explain >60 % of sea level variances in the study area. The model is then validated using independent data from tide gauge in Townsville. The comparison results indicate that the high sea levels predicted by the model taken into account of both altimetry and tide-gauge data agree well with those observed at Townsville during cyclone Larry.


Coastal sea level Multivariate regression Satellite radar altimetry Tropical cyclone 



We would like to thank Dr Yongchun Cheng (Technical University of Denmark), the reviewers and editor for their constructive comments on this article.


  1. Andersen OB (1999) Shallow water tides in the northwest European shelf region from Topex/Poseidon altimetry. J Geophys Res 104(C4):7729–7741CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Cheng Y, Andersen OB (2010) Improvement in global ocean tide model in shallow water regions. Poster, SV.1-68 45, OSTST, Lisbon, 18–22 OctGoogle Scholar
  3. Cheng YC, Andersen OB, Knudsen P (2012) Integrating non-tidal sea level data from altimetry and tide gauges for coastal sea level prediction. Adv Space Res 50:1099–1106CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Church JA, White NJ, Hunter JR, McInnes KL, Mitchell WM, O’Farrell SP, Griffin DA (2009) Sea level. In: Poloczanska ES, Hobday AJ, Richardson AJ (eds) A marine climate change impacts and adaptation report card for Australia 2009. NCCARF Publication 05/09, ISBN 978-1-921609-03-9Google Scholar
  5. Deng X, Featherstone WE (2006) A coastal retracking system for satellite radar altimeter waveforms: application to ERS-2 around Australia. J Geophys Res 111:C06012. doi: 10.1029/2005JC003039 Google Scholar
  6. Deng X, Griffin DA, Ridgway K, Church JA, Featherstone WE, White N, Cahill M (2011) Satellite radar altimetry for geodetic, oceanographic and climate change studies in Australian coasts. In: Vignudelli SKA, Cipollini P (eds) Coastal altimetry. Springer, Berlin. doi: 10.1007/978-3-642-12796-0_18 Google Scholar
  7. Emery WJ, Thomson RE (2001) Data analysis methods in physical oceanography, 2nd edn. Elsevier, New York, p 638Google Scholar
  8. Fu LL, Haines BJ (2013) The challenges in long-term altimetry calibration for addressing the problem of global sea level change. Adv Space Res 51(8):1284–1300CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Griffin DA, Middleton JH (1991) Local and remote wind forcing of New South Wales inner shelf currents and sea level. J Phys Oceanogr 21:304–322CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Han G, Ma Z, Chen D, deYoung B, Chen N (2012) Observing storm surges from space: hurricane Igor off Newfoundland. Sci Rep 2:1010. doi: 10.1038/srep01010 Google Scholar
  11. Høyer JL, Andersen OB (2003) Improved description of sea level in the North Sea. J Geophys Res. doi: 10.1029/2002JC001601 Google Scholar
  12. Idris NH, Deng X, Andersen OB (2014) The Importance of coastal altimetry retracking and detiding: a case study around the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Int J Remote Sens. doi: 10.1080/01431161.2014.882032 Google Scholar
  13. Lillibridge J, Lin M, Shum CK (2013) Hurricane Sandy storm surge measured by satellite altimetry. Oceanography 26(2):8–9. doi: 10.5670/oceanog.2013.18 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Munk WH, Cartwright DE (1996) Tidal spectroscopy and prediction. Philos Trans R Soc Lond A 259:533–583CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Pascual A, Marcos M, Gomis D (2008) Comparing the sea level response to pressure and wind forcing of two barotropic models: validation with tide gauge and altimetry data. J Geophys Res 113:C07011. doi: 10.1029/2007JC004459 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Power SB, Pearce KB (2006) Climate change research in the Bureau of Meteorology: abstracts of presentations at a workshop held on 10 February 2006, Melbourne, AustraliaGoogle Scholar
  17. Scharroo R, Smith WHF, Lillibridge JL (2005) Satellite altimetry and the intensification of Hurricane Katrina. EOS 80:366CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Zieger S, Vinoth J, Young IR (2009) Joint Calibration of multiplatform altimeter measurements of wind speed and wave height over the past 20 years. J Atmos Ocean Technol. doi: 10.1175/2009JTECHA1301.1 Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xiaoli Deng
    • 1
    Email author
  • Zahra Gharineiat
    • 1
  • Ole B. Andersen
    • 2
  • Mark G. Stewart
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Engineering, The University of NewcastleCallaghan NSWAustralia
  2. 2.DTU Space, Technical University of DenmarkLyngbyDenmark

Personalised recommendations