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Coastal Tide Gauge Calibration: A Case Study at Macquarie Island Using GPS Buoy Techniques


Watson, CS and Coleman, R and Handsworth, R, Coastal Tide Gauge Calibration: A Case Study at Macquarie Island Using GPS Buoy Techniques, Journal of Coastal Research, 24, (4) pp. 1071-1079. ISSN 0749-0208 (2008) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.2112/07-0844.1


Tide gauges remain the fundamental instrument used to measure water level in the coastal environment. Issues surrounding the calibration and vertical datum control of tide gauges are therefore fundamental in studies involving the determination of absolute sea level and its variation over time. Macquarie Island, located in Australian sub-Antarctic waters (54°„30°š S, 158°„57°š E), represents one of the few possible locations in the Southern Ocean to observe sea level using traditional tide gauge techniques. The wave and atmospheric climatology of the region, coupled with a rugged coastline, makes the operation of a modern tide gauge installation extremely difficult. To overcome many of these difficulties, researchers use an acoustic gauge operated within an inclined shaft that is drilled through a coastal rocky outcrop. The calibration requirements of the gauge are therefore problematic and require special consideration to enable the accurate calculation of mean sea level and its change over time. We present results from a novel application of a GPS-equipped buoy to achieve an in situ calibration of the tide gauge, solving for scale, vertical offset, and sea state®Cdependent bias parameters. The methodology provides a new, high precision technique using available instrumentation, allowing users to maximise the oceanographic and geodetic value of tide gauge observations.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Acoustic tide gauge; Sea level, GPS buoy; Calibration methodology
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Geophysics
Research Field:Geodesy
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Management of Antarctic and Southern Ocean environments
Objective Field:Antarctic and Southern Ocean oceanic processes
UTAS Author:Watson, CS (Dr Christopher Watson)
UTAS Author:Coleman, R (Professor Richard Coleman)
ID Code:54517
Year Published:2008
Web of Science® Times Cited:25
Deposited By:Geography and Environmental Studies
Deposited On:2009-02-24
Last Modified:2009-06-03

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