Coastal Sea Level Measurements Using a Single Geodetic GPS Receiver
Journal article, 2013

This paper presents a method to derive local sea level variations using data from a single geodetic-quality Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) receiver using GPS (Global Positioning System) signals. This method is based on multipath theory for specular reflections and the use of Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR) data. The technique could be valuable for altimeter calibration and validation. Data from two test sites, a dedicated GPS tide gauge at the Onsala Space Observatory (OSO) in Sweden and the Friday Harbor GPS site of the EarthScope Plate Boundary Observatory (PBO) in USA, are analyzed. The sea level results are compared to independently observed sea level data from nearby and in situ tide gauges. For OSO, the Root-Mean-Square (RMS) agreement is better than 5 cm, while it is on the order of 10 cm for Friday Harbor. The correlation coefficients are better than 0.97 for both sites. For OSO, the SNR-based results are also compared with results from a geodetic analysis of GPS data of a two receivers/antennae tide gauge installation. The SNR-based analysis results in a slightly worse RMS agreement with respect to the independent tide gauge data than the geodetic analysis (4.8 cm and 4.0 cm, respectively). However, it provides results even for rough sea surface conditions when the two receivers/antennae installation no longer records the necessary data for a geodetic analysis.


Tide gauge

Reflected signals



Sea level


Kristine Larson

University of Colorado at Boulder

Johan Löfgren

Chalmers, Earth and Space Sciences, Space Geodesy and Geodynamics

Rüdiger Haas

Chalmers, Earth and Space Sciences, Space Geodesy and Geodynamics

Advances in Space Research

0273-1177 (ISSN)

Vol. 51 8 1301-1310

Subject Categories

Other Engineering and Technologies

Other Engineering and Technologies not elsewhere specified

Other Earth and Related Environmental Sciences

Earth and Related Environmental Sciences


Basic sciences


Onsala Space Observatory



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