Using Clevedon Pier to help monitor global sea levels and water resources

The Pier Trust is supporting a major new international science project to monitor sea level using satellites. The sharp-eyed visitor may notice that some new scientific equipment powered by solar panels has been installed at the end of the Pier.

The instrument (a tide gauge based on Sat Nav technology) will continuously measure sea level from the Pier as part of a global programme involving the launch by NASA of the Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) Satellite.

While satellites like SWOT can observe the World’s oceans from afar, like all scientific instruments, the satellite data needs calibration by precise data obtained on the ground. The new GNSS-based (Sat Nav) tide gauge on the Pier will be part of a network of stations set up around the Bristol Channel by the UK part of the SWOT project involving the Universities of Bangor, Liverpool and Bristol. The ultimate aims of the SWOT project is to document sea level and water resources in rivers, lakes and coastal areas.

The project will contribute to understanding the causes of sea level change which include rebound of the land due to the end of the last ice age, changes to the landscape and most significantly climate change as glaciers melt and the ocean warms.

The tide gauge instrument based on the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) is powered by solar panel and records the distance between the sea surface below and the instrument. Thus the sea level at the Pier can be recorded continuously.

For more information about this project please click here.

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