A team from the UK's National Oceanography Centre (NOC), University of Michigan and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory have discovered
a new way to accurately measure the sea level. The technique is called GNSS-R
, and involves bouncing low-powered signals from GPS satellites off of the ocean's surface and measuring the reflected signal with a GNSS-R receiver. The team used a research satellite launched last year as a GNSS-R receiver, but it will be able to tap a new constellation of receivers that NASA is launching this year as part of CYGNSS
. That mission will make accurate measurements of surface winds using GPS satellites, but NOC scientists will be able to use them to measure ocean levels, too, yielding a thirty-fold increase in such data.