Sea level measurements using multi-frequency GPS and GLONASS observations
Journal article, 2014
Global Positioning System (GPS) tide gauges have been realized in different configurations, e.g., with one zenith-looking antenna, using the multipath interference pattern for signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) analysis, or with one zenith- and one nadir-looking antenna, analyzing the difference in phase delay, to estimate the sea level height.
In this study, for the first time, we use a true Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) tide gauge, installed at the Onsala Space Observatory. This GNSS tide gauge is recording both GPS and Globalnaya Navigatsionnaya Sputnikovaya Sistema (GLONASS) signals and makes it possible to use both the one- and two-antenna analysis approach. Both the SNR analysis and the phase delay analysis were evaluated using dual-frequency GPS and GLONASS signals, i.e., frequencies in the L-band, during a 1-month-long campaign.
The GNSS-derived sea level results were compared to independent sea level observations from a co-located pressure tide gauge and show a high correlation for both systems and frequency bands, with correlation coefficients of 0.86 to 0.97. The phase delay results show a better agreement with the tide gauge sea level than the SNR results with root-mean-square differences of 3.5 cm (GPS L1 and L2) and 3.3/3.2 cm (GLONASS L1/L2 bands) compared to 4.0/9.0 cm (GPS L1/L2 ) and 4.7/8.9 cm (GLONASS L1/L2 bands). GPS and GLONASS show similar performance in the comparison, and the results show that for the phase delay analysis, it is possible to use both frequencies, whereas for the SNR analysis, the L2 band should be avoided if other signals are available. Note that standard geodetic receivers using code-based tracking, i.e., tracking the un-encrypted C/A-code on L1 and using the manufacturers’ proprietary tracking method for L2 , were used. Signals with the new C/A-code on L2 , the so-called L2C, were not tracked.
Using wind speed as an indicator for sea surface roughness, we find that the SNR analysis performs better in rough sea surface conditions than the phase delay analysis. The SNR analysis is possible even during the highest wind speed observed during this campaign (17.5 m/s), while the phase delay analysis becomes difficult for wind speeds above 6 m/s.