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The use of satellite data in the detailed study and precise measurement of the Earth's geoid in order to improve our understanding both of the Earth's interior, and dynamic topography of the world's oceans.

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GOCE settles debate on sloping sea

15 February 2013

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For decades, scientists have disagreed about whether the sea is higher or lower heading north along the east coast of North America. Thanks to precision gravity data from ESA's GOCE satellite, this controversial issue has now been settled. The answer? It's lower.

Many might assume that the height of the sea is the same everywhere - but this is not true because winds, currents, tides and different temperatures cause seawater to pile up in some regions and dip in others.

However, it is difficult to determine relative heights of the sea, especially near the coast. To do this, tide gauge measurements need to be compared with a 'level' surface.

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