Spectrally Consistent Mean Dynamic Topography by Combining Mean Sea Surface and Global Geopotential Model Through a Least Squares-Based Approach

Hongkai Shi, Xiufeng He*, Yihao Wu*, Ole Baltazar Andersen, Per Knudsen, Yanxiong Liu, Zhetao Zhang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

103 Downloads (Pure)


The filtering procedure is usually mandatory for modeling mean dynamic topography (MDT) when a geodetic approach based on the Mean Sea Surface (MSS) and the Global Geopotential Model (GGM) is used. This is due to the inconsistent spectral contents between MSS and GGM. However, traditional isotropic filtering algorithms (e.g., Gaussian filter) consider neither the MDT locations nor their azimuth when smoothing the signal within the filtering radius. Hence, the isotropic filtering will attenuate the MDT signal near the current and filter the current signal into the surrounding ocean, which may lead to signal contamination and distortion. In this study, we set up a least squares-based (LS) approach to model MDT signal from the altimeter-derived MSS and geoid height using spherical harmonics from GGMs, where MDT is parameterized by Lagrange Basis Functions (LBFs). The design matrix is segmentally established, considering the error information of GGM in various spectral bands. Numerical experiments in the Gulf Stream show that applications of full error variance-covariance matrix or only diagonal error variance of GGM may have marginal effects on the MDT modeling. The MDT computed from this LS-based approach using the latest releases of Gravity Field and Steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer (GOCE) geoid models, i.e., GO_CONS_GCF_2_DIR_R6 and Gravity Observation Combination 06s model (GOCO06s), have the best agreement with the comparison data, especially near the current region. Deduced geostrophic velocities based on the MDT solutions show that the LS-based approach recovers the current signal better than the Gaussian filtering by 1.8 cm/s. Estimated error map illustrates that errors are more concentrated near the coastal region.

Original languageEnglish
Article number795935
JournalFrontiers in Earth Science
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Geostrophic current
  • Global geopotential model
  • Gulf stream
  • Least squares
  • Mean dynamic topography
  • Mean sea surface
  • Signal reconstruction


Dive into the research topics of 'Spectrally Consistent Mean Dynamic Topography by Combining Mean Sea Surface and Global Geopotential Model Through a Least Squares-Based Approach'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this