Sea-Surface Height (SSH)

 The Naval Research Laboratory and Naval Oceanographic Office at Stennis Space Center use the Modular Ocean Data Assimilation System (MODAS) [Carnes et al.,1996] to produce, as one of several products, global, daily, 1/8° resolution maps of sea-surface steric height anomalies relative to 1000 m. Steric height anomaly is the difference between the height of a given  water column and the height of an ideal 0°C, 35 salinity column, where the heights are integrated between specified pressure surfaces. MODAS daily global estimates of steric height anomaly begin with optimal interpolation (OI) of TOPEX and ERS altimetry. The OI uses a mesoscale-tuned estimate of the error covariance [Jacobs and Barron, submitted] to develop a field of height deviation from the altimetric mean. The final steric height anomaly is produced by adding the deviation field to two others, a MODAS climatological mean steric height anomaly and a correction for the difference between the altimetric and climatological means. The climatological steric height anomaly is computed by integrating from the climatological pressure at 1000 m to the surface. The steric height anomaly is a true height and will be referred to as SSH.

  Click here to see an animation of interpolated RAFOS float trajectories over MODAS SSH steric height anomaly in the Agulhas Current. Credit goes to Dr. Charlie Barron at the Naval Research Lab at Stennis Space Center for producing the time series of sea level and Dr. Olaf Boebel  at AWI in Bremerhaven, Germany (formerly at URI) for superimposing RAFOS float tracks on these time series.

  Click here to view a six-month MODAS sea surface height time series of the Northwest Corner (NWC) region of the North Atlantic (45-55°N, 35-50°W).  The time period spans January 1 through June 30, 1994.   We again thank Dr. Charlie Barron for producing the time series for us.