Articles | Volume 14, issue 3
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 14, 589–610, 2014
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 14, 589–610, 2014

Research article 13 Mar 2014

Research article | 13 Mar 2014

Overlapping sea level time series measured using different technologies: an example from the REDMAR Spanish network

B. Pérez1, A. Payo2,*, D. López2, P. L. Woodworth3, and E. Alvarez Fanjul1 B. Pérez et al.
  • 1Puertos del Estado, Madrid, Spain
  • 2SIDMAR Bernhard Pack S.L., Benissa, Alicante, Spain
  • 3National Oceanography Centre, Liverpool, UK
  • *now at: Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford, UK

Abstract. This paper addresses the problems of overlapping sea level time series measured using different technologies and sometimes from different locations inside a harbour. The renovation of the Spanish REDMAR (RED de MAReógrafos) sea level network is taken here as an example of the difficulties encountered: up to seventeen old tide gauge stations have been replaced by radar tide gauges all around the Spanish coast, in order to fulfil the new international requirements on tsunami detection. Overlapping periods between old and new stations have allowed the comparison of records in different frequency ranges and the determination of the impact of this change of instrumentation on the long-term sea level products such as tides, surges and mean sea levels. The differences encountered are generally within the values expected, taking into account the characteristics of the different sensors, the different sampling strategies and sometimes the different locations inside the harbours. However, our analysis has also revealed in some cases the presence of significant scale errors that, overlapping with datum differences and uncertainties, as well as with hardware problems in many new radar gauges, may hinder the generation of coherent and continuous sea level time series. Comparisons with nearby stations have been combined with comparisons with altimetry time series close to each station in order to better determine the sources of error and to guarantee the precise relationships between the sea level time series from the old and the new tide gauges.