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NASA United Kingdom News Science Technology

Scientists Plot Sea Levels Using GPS Satellites (engadget.com) 62

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.
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Scientists Plot Sea Levels Using GPS Satellites

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  • It will turn us into a bunch of hypochondriacs with every little fluctuation

    • by delt0r ( 999393 )
      What do you mean turn? We already are. After all i am picking up a 200% increase in radiation where i am sitting right from yesterday! OMG the RAYS are killing me.

      Of course sea level rise is far more important to me. Since well i am going to live for many centuries and own like a million acres of seaside property :D.
    • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

      by phantomfive ( 622387 )
      The question is, what will happen if the satellite data disagrees with the terrestrial data?
      • by ClickOnThis ( 137803 ) on Saturday February 27, 2016 @08:18PM (#51601123) Journal

        The question is, what will happen if the satellite data disagrees with the terrestrial data?

        Then scientists will do what they always do in such situations: try to find out what causes the discrepancy.

        The vast majority of times, such a discrepancy is caused by a faulty measuring technique or device. If that's ruled out, then you look more closely at the observations you're comparing to, for signs of error there. And if the discrepancy still persists (i.e., you have strong confidence in both sets of observations, even though they disagree) then you start to look for explanations, including possible modifications to theories, that would fit with the observations.

        • by hey! ( 33014 )

          Then scientists will do what they always do in such situations: try to find out what causes the discrepancy.

          And if they find it the denialists will do what they always do: see a conspiracy.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by vtcodger ( 957785 )

        Same thing as now. The Global warming alarmists will pick the largest number, claim it is "Science" and ignore all other estimates. BTW, the article has no numbers other than "thirtyfold" increase -- which I'm guessing means thirtyfold MORE data, not thirtyfold BETTER data. I looked around the internet a bit. The R in GNSS-R apparently stands for Reflectometry. Couldn't find a figure for accuracy, but my initial impression is that it will be limited by two sets of ionospheric delays. It's not clear t

        • It's not clear that's all that much use for sea level rise which needs measurements to a fraction of a mm per year.

          If you have a lot of measurements, then you can average them to reduce the noise.

      • When your measuring millimeters change against 10 meter waves, the data will always disagree.

    • by hey! ( 33014 )

      So you're worried that measuring might turn you into a hypochondriac? Well I've got good news and bad news. The good news is that measuring doesn't turn people into a hypochondriacs; it just gives the ones who are already hypochondriacs another thing to worry about. The bad news is that it sounds like the question may be moot in your case.

  • by Frosty Piss ( 770223 ) * on Saturday February 27, 2016 @06:47PM (#51600687)

    Oregon State University ( http://www-po.coas.oregonstate... [oregonstate.edu] ? has been recording ocean s"sea level" and other data with sophisicated instruments since the 1970's.

    This is an interesting leverage of GPS technology, but the data is for the most part already being collected in much finer detail with many additional parameters.

    • by XXongo ( 3986865 )

      Oregon State University ( http://www-po.coas.oregonstate... [oregonstate.edu] ? has been recording ocean s"sea level" and other data with sophisicated instruments since the 1970's.

      Interesting link, but nowhere on that page is there any mention of global measurements of sea level.

    • There are plenty of measurements of sea level rise. Trouble is, they are all different. There are hundreds of tidal gauges, some of which have centuries of data (most of them more like 50-100 years). Trouble is that since they are located at/near seashores they not well distributed across the planet. And many are in places where various forces are lifting/depressing the ground at rates comparable to sea level rise. There are also satellite altimeters that measure sea level with radar. They have some p

  • could the under be covered?
  • Sad thing is ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PvtVoid ( 1252388 ) on Saturday February 27, 2016 @07:07PM (#51600791)

    ... when these measurements corroborate the existing (and already very convincing) evidence for sea level rise, the wingnuts will come up with yet another obscure rationalization explaining why they should be discarded or ignored.

    Alas, with deniers, it's like playing whack-a-mole: when you point to any specific piece of evidence, then out come the excuses for why that one thing is not relevant. When you point out the totality of evidence, out come the irrelevant details.

    • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Saturday February 27, 2016 @09:27PM (#51601361) Journal

      when these measurements corroborate the existing (and already very convincing) evidence for sea level rise, the wingnuts will come up with yet another obscure rationalization explaining why they should be discarded or ignored.

      If the fact that coastal cities are starting to flood at an increasing rate hasn't been enough to convince them, do you really think satellite data's going to do it?

      http://www.theguardian.com/env... [theguardian.com]

    • ... when these measurements corroborate the existing (and already very convincing) evidence for sea level rise, the wingnuts will come up with yet another obscure rationalization explaining why they should be discarded or ignored.

      You are referring to either the left or right lobe of a wingnut, or the whole thing? Wingnuts are the cutest little darlings. Unlike most nuts with their grasping-sides that rest quietly within a circular area, wingnuts seem to always be begging for attention. "Hey! Look at me!" they cry, their lobes rising like the arms of a child who wants to be picked up. They crave contact with forefingers and thumbs. There is nothing so sad as a wingnut that has never been adjusted. Every time I catch a glimpse of a w

  • Everybody knows that the elevation term of GPS solutions is the least precise of the three.

According to the latest official figures, 43% of all statistics are totally worthless.

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