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Permanent Service for Mean Sea Level (PSMSL)

The Permanent Service for Mean Sea Level (PSMSL) was founded in 1933 and is the global data centre for information on sea level change using tide gauges. It is based at the National Oceanography Centre in Liverpool, UK. It operates under the auspices of the International Council for Science (ICSU) and for many years was a member of the ICSU Federation of Astronomical and Geophysical Data Analysis Services (FAGS). ICSU has recently reorganized FAGS into the new World Data System (WDS) and the PSMSL will shortly become one of the first members of the new System.

The main PSMSL data set consists of monthly and annual means of sea level from over 2000 stations around the world, making up over 60,000 station-years of information. These data are used within a wide range of geosciences, of which studies of sea level rise in assessments such as those of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) are the most highly-cited. The maintenance of this data set requires communication with agencies in almost every country in the world with a coastline.

The PSMSL plays a major role in network building and works closely with the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) in the construction of the Global Sea Level Observing System (GLOSS). An important component of that work relates to capacity building, and the PSMSL has either organized or been heavily involved in the organization of training courses in each of the last 25 years. In addition, it has been responsible to IOC in recent years for the installation of new stations in Africa. Its web site will be found to contain a large amount of training material of various kinds.

While the main PSMSL data set is composed of monthly and annual mean values of sea level, it works closely with the British Oceanographic Data Centre (BODC) and University of Hawaii Sea Level Centre (UHSLC) to provide records of ‘high-frequency’ (typically hourly values) sea level data for use in studies of tides and extreme water levels. The appropriate links may be found on its web site.

The PSMSL works closely with other IAG-related Services, especially the IGS with regard to the measurement of vertical land movements at tide gauges in the TIGA project.

Formal reviews of the work of the PSMSL are available (Woodworth and Player, 2003; Holgate et al., 2011). However, the PSMSL has also recently put major effort into improving the delivery from its web site (www.psmsl.org) of a wide range of data, derived products, and background and training information.

Stations represented in the data set of the Permanent Service for Mean Sea Level (PSMSL)

1. (a) Stations represented in the data set of the Permanent Service for Mean Sea Level (PSMSL)
Source: Woodworth, P.L., W.R. Gehrels, and R.S. Nerem. 2011. Nineteenth and twentieth century changes in sea level. Oceanography 24(2):80–93, doi:10.5670/oceanog.2011.29

Stations with long records containing more than 60 years of data

1. (b) Stations with long records containing more than 60 years of data
Source: Woodworth, P.L., W.R. Gehrels, and R.S. Nerem. 2011. Nineteenth and twentieth century changes in sea level. Oceanography 24(2):80–93, doi:10.5670/oceanog.2011.29

 

References

Holgate, S.J. et al. 2011. New Data Systems and Products at the Permanent Service for Mean Sea Level. (In preparation).

Woodworth, P.L. and Player, R. 2003. The Permanent Service for Mean Sea Level: an update to the 21st century. Journal of Coastal Research, 19, 287-295.

Woodworth, P.L., Gehrels, W.R and Nerem, R.S. 2011. Nineteenth and twentieth century changes in sea level. Oceanography, 24(2), 80-93, doi:10.5670/oceanog.2011.29.

Content of this contribution provided by Phil Woodworth.


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