Ocean tide loading and relative GNSS in the British Isles

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  2. Professor Peter Clarke
  3. Dr Nigel Penna
Author(s)Clarke PJ, Penna NT
Publication type Article
JournalSurvey Review
ISSN (print)0039-6265
ISSN (electronic)1752-2706
Full text is available for this publication:
Ocean tide loading (OTL) affects all parts of the British Isles to varying degree, causing peak-to-peak vertical displacements of up to 13 cm in South-West England over semi-diurnal and diurnal timescales. Lateral displacements are typically around one-third of the magnitude of vertical displacements at a point, so are also considerable for carrier phase GNSS surveying. Using a recent numerical ocean tide model, we predict that widespread residual displacements up to ~1 cm remain in kinematic or short-occupation static relative GNSS positions computed with respect to the nearest continuously operating reference station. Even if OTL is not modelled explicitly, these errors will be mitigated by network GNSS to an extent dependent on the number and location of reference stations used, and the adjustment or error interpolation scheme adopted in the processing. For a selection of error interpolation algorithms, we predict that throughout most inland regions of Great Britain and Ireland, network processing reduces the residual OTL error to within the expected kinematic GNSS system noise. However, pockets of OTL error exceeding 1 cm may remain, especially in coastal locations and in South-West Ireland, South Wales, South-West England, and the islands off the west coast of Scotland. Residual OTL error at semi-diurnal periods dominates that at diurnal periods. We derive a simple heuristic for estimating the magnitude of this error from a sample of observations at a locality, valid within a short window of the spring/neap tidal cycle, and show how the residual error may, if necessary, be mitigated by a suitable averaging scheme.
PublisherManey Publishing
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