Links between oceanography and geodesy: Current state and future prospects

Author: D. Stammer and Rui M. Ponte
April 6, 2003 - April 11, 2003
EGS-AGU-EUG Joint Assembly, Nice

Stammer, D., and R.M. Ponte, 2003. Links between oceanography and geodesy: Current state and future prospects, EGS-AGU-EUG Joint Assembly, Nice, April 2003, invited.

Work at the crossroads of geodesy and oceanography has been especially fruitful in the last decade. We discuss recent progress in understanding the links between the global ocean circulation and mass fields and changes in the Earth rotation and gravity field, made possible by advances in observational geodesy and oceanography, ocean modeling, and state estimation schemes. Achievements include the establishement of the importance of ocean angular momentum (OAM) variability for the excitation of the Chandler and annual wobbles and, more generally, for rotational signals with periods as short as a few days, the development of much improved oceanic geoids. By explaining significant variability in the geodetic records, ocean studies allow for
the exploration of other geophysical effects on those records and also demonstrate their usefulness for checking realism of ocean models and state estimation schemes. In the years ahead, satellite gravity measurements will provide ample new challenges for both geodesy and oceanography. Needs of both fields are discussed, with focus on issues related to modeling of rapid ocean bottom pressure signals for purposes of dealiasing gravity and altimetry missions, implementation of non-Boussinesq ocean models and improvements in freshwater flux boundary conditions for better treatment of oceanic mass signals, and inclusion of gravity measurements in ocean state estimation.