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GPS estimates of ocean tide loading in NW-France: determination of ocean tide loading constituents and comparison with a recent ocean tide model

Abstract : Ocean loading effects cause 3-D displacements large enough to affect space geodesy measurements either at the subdiurnal periods or at longer time scales by the means of spurious signals. GPS measurements, in turn, could provide local improvements of the models in coastal areas if their ability to precisely monitor such rapid displacements is assessed. In this paper, we use 105 days of continuous GPS measurements collected in 2004 in the French Brittany and Cotentin region to investigate: (1) the precision achieved by the GPS analysis on measuring 3-D subdiurnal displacements and amplitude and phase of the tidal constituents, (2) the quality of the most recent ocean tide model FES2004 in such a complex coastal context. Indeed, in this area, tide amplitudes are among the largest in the world (up to 16 cm of loading displacements on the vertical component) and are believed to show strong shallow-water tides. From a state of the art GPS analysis using the scientific GAMIT software over 2-h sessions, we test two independent strategies for the realization of the reference frame. The position time series are then compared with the displacements predicted by the FES2004 model applied on an elastic Earth model. The two sets of results are consistent with each other at the same level of agreement than with the predicted displacements, namely 3–5 mm on the horizontal components, 10 mm on the vertical. This assesses the capability of this technique for measuring 3-D ocean tide loading deformation. We validate the FES2004 model in the Brittany area, even though it slightly (2–7 mm) underestimates the three components amplitudes. With a harmonic analysis of the observed position time series, we obtain nevertheless an agreement at a submillimetre level for the M2, N2, O1, Q1 tidal constituents and at a millimetre level for the K1 and S2 tidal constituents. Moreover, we can extract a significant M4 load signal at the 95 per cent confidence level from the GPS time series at the stations located in the Mont St Michel area. The detection of other shallow-water constituents would be helpful to understand the amplitude deficit between the FES2004 predicted and GPS observed displacements.
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Mathilde Vergnolle, M. Bouin, L. Morel, F. Masson, S. Durand, et al.. GPS estimates of ocean tide loading in NW-France: determination of ocean tide loading constituents and comparison with a recent ocean tide model. Geophysical Journal International, Oxford University Press (OUP), 2008, 173 (2), pp.444 à 458. ⟨10.1111/j.1365-246X.2008.03734.x⟩. ⟨insu-00335909⟩

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