Researchers from Oregon State University have developed an improved method for measuring sea level changes with satellite data, and they have published a dataset of their more accurate sea level measurements for the coastline of the West Coast of the United States from 1993 to 2005. Coastal regions can create turbulent ocean and atmospheric conditions, which, combined with their proximity to land, can make the normal method for measuring sea levels though space-based radar unreliable. The researchers merged satellite altimeter data with tide gauge data—scientific data from sensors on floating ocean platforms—to create a much more accurate profile of sea levels. More accurate sea level data can help researchers better understand a variety of important scientific issues, such as the relationship between ocean currents and storms or changes in ocean biology.
Image: Henryk Kotowski.