MEAN EARTH'S EQUIPOTENTIAL SURFACE FROM TOPEX/POSEIDON ALTIMETRY

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Abstract

Summary

The geopotential value of W0 = (62 636 855.611 ± 0.008) m2s−2 which specifies the equipotential surface fitting the mean ocean surface best, was obtained from four years (1993 - 1996) of TOPEX/POSEIDON altimeter data (AVISO, 1995). The altimeter calibration error limits the actual accuracy of W0 to about (0.2 - 0.5) m2s−2 (2 - 5) cm. The same accuracy limits also apply to the corresponding semimajor axis of the mean Earth's level ellipsoid a = 6 378 136.72 m (mean tide system), a = 6 378 136.62 m (zero tide system), a = 6 378 136.59 m (tide-free). The variations in the yearly mean values of the geopotential did not exceed ±0.025 m2s−2 (±2.5 mm).

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