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Sea Level at Tahiti—A Minimum of Variability

Thomas BongersDepartment of Oceanography and Hawaii Institute of Geophysics, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI 96822

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Klaus WyrtkiDepartment of Oceanography and Hawaii Institute of Geophysics, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI 96822

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Abstract

Sea level variability at Tahiti is analyzed from daily to interannual time scales and compared with that at neighboring island stations. Tahiti lies close to an amphidromic point with respect to the major semidiurnal tides; it is rarely affected by strong atmospheric disturbances, and the standard deviations of daily and monthly mean sea level are the lowest for nearby stations with a representative record length. Low-frequency variability of sea level is smallest when compared with nearby stations; only the 1982–83 El Niño event is clearly apparent in the data. Tahiti displays the lowest variability of sea level on all time scales considered, which makes it an ideal location for the calibration of satellite altimeter measurements.

Abstract

Sea level variability at Tahiti is analyzed from daily to interannual time scales and compared with that at neighboring island stations. Tahiti lies close to an amphidromic point with respect to the major semidiurnal tides; it is rarely affected by strong atmospheric disturbances, and the standard deviations of daily and monthly mean sea level are the lowest for nearby stations with a representative record length. Low-frequency variability of sea level is smallest when compared with nearby stations; only the 1982–83 El Niño event is clearly apparent in the data. Tahiti displays the lowest variability of sea level on all time scales considered, which makes it an ideal location for the calibration of satellite altimeter measurements.

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