Water surface height determination with a GPS wave glider: a demonstration in Loch Ness, Scotland

Morales Maqueda, M.A.; Penna, N.T.; Williams, S.D.P.; Foden, P.R.; Martin, I.; Pugh, J.. 2016 Water surface height determination with a GPS wave glider: a demonstration in Loch Ness, Scotland. Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology, 33 (6). 1159-1168.

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A geodetic GPS receiver has been installed on a Wave Glider, an unmanned water surface vehicle. Using kinematic precise point positioning (PPP) GPS, which operates globally without directly requiring reference stations, surface heights are measured with ~0.05-m precision. The GPS Wave Glider was tested in Loch Ness, Scotland, by measuring the gradient of the loch’s surface height. The experiment took place under mild weather, with virtually no wind setup along the loch and a wave field made mostly of ripples and wavelets. Under these conditions, the loch’s surface height gradient should be approximately equal to the geoid slope. The PPP surface height gradient and that of the Earth Gravitational Model 2008 geoid heights do indeed agree on average along the loch (0.03 m km−1). Also detected are 1) ~0.05-m-sized height changes due to daily water pumping for hydroelectricity generation and 2) high-frequency (0.25–0.5 Hz) oscillations caused by surface waves. The PPP heights compare favorably (~0.02-m standard deviation) with relative carrier phase–based GPS processing. This suggests that GPS Wave Gliders have the potential to autonomously determine centimeter-precise water surface heights globally for lake modeling, and also for applications such as ocean modeling and geoid/mean dynamic topography determination, at least for benign surface states such as those encountered during the reported experiment.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 0739-0572
Additional Keywords: Geographic location/entity; Inland seas/lakes; Atm/Ocean Structure/ Phenomena; Sea level; Observational techniques and algorithms; Global positioning systems (GPS); In situ oceanic observations
Date made live: 04 Aug 2016 09:05 +0 (UTC)

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