Published Data Library (PDL)

GESLA (Global Extreme Sea Level Analysis) high frequency sea level dataset - Version 2


GESLA (Global Extreme Sea Level Analysis) high frequency sea level dataset - Version 2.

Author(s) Woodworth P.L. (1); Hunter J.R. (2); Marcos Moreno M. (3); Caldwell P.C. (4); Menendez M. (5); Haigh I.D. (6)

(1) National Oceanography Centre, Liverpool; (2) Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre; (3) Mediterranean Institute for Advanced Studies Natural Resources Department; (4) Department of Oceanography, University of Hawai'i at Manoa; (5) University of Cantabria Environmental Hydraulics Institute; (6) University of Southampton School of Ocean and Earth Science

Subject elevation, oceans

The dataset contains 39148 years of sea level data from 1355 station records, with some stations having alternative versions of the records provided from different sources. GESLA-2 data may be obtained from The site also contains the file format description and other information. The text files contain headers with lines of metadata followed by the data itself in a simple column format. All the tide gauge data in GESLA-2 have hourly or more frequent sampling. The basic data from the US National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration (NOAA) are 6-minute values but for GESLA-2 purposes we instead settled on their readily-available 'verified hourly values'. Most UK records are also hourly values up to the 1990s, and 15-minute values thereafter. Records from some other sources may have different sampling, and records should be inspected individually if sampling considerations are considered critical to an analysis. The GESLA-2 dataset has global coverage and better geographical coverage that the GESLA-1 with stations in new regions (defined by stations in the new dataset located more than 50 km from any station in GESLA-1). For example, major improvements can be seen to have been made for the Mediterranean and Baltic Seas, Japan, New Zealand and the African coastline south of the Equator. The earliest measurements are from Brest, France (04/01/1846) and the latest from Cuxhaven, Germany and Esbjerg, Denmark (01/05/2015). There are 29 years in an average record, although the actual number of years varies from only 1 at short-lived sites, to 167 in the case of Brest, France. Most of the measurements in GESLA-2 were made during the second half of the twentieth century. The most globally-representative analyses of sea level variability with GESLA-2 will be those that focus on the period since about 1970. Historically, delayed-mode data comprised spot values of sea level every hour, obtained from inspection of the ink trace on a tide gauge chart. Nowadays tide gauge data loggers provide data electronically. Data can be either spot values, integrated (averaged) values over specified periods (e.g. 6 minutes), or integrated over a specified period within a longer sampling period (e.g. averaged over 3 minutes every 6 minutes). The construction of this dataset is fundamental to research in sea level variability and also to practical aspects of coastal engineering. One component is concerned with encouraging countries to install tide gauges at locations where none exist, to operate them to internationally agreed standards, and to make the data available to interested users. A second component is concerned with the collection of data from the global set of tide gauges, whether gauges have originated through the GLOSS programme or not, and to make the data available. The records in GESLA-2 will have had some form of quality control undertaken by the data providers. However, the extent to which that control will have been undertaken will inevitably vary between providers and with time. In most cases, no further quality control has been made beyond that already undertaken by the data providers. Although there are many individual contributions, over a quarter of the station-years are provided by the research quality dataset of UHSLC. Contributors include: British Oceanographic Data Centre; University of Hawaii Sea Level Center; Japan Meteorological Agency; US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; Puertos del Estado, Spain; Marine Environmental Data Service, Canada; Instituto Espanol de Oceanografica, Spain; idromare, Italy; Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute; Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency, Germany; Finnish Meteorological Institute; Service hydrographique et oceanographique de la Marine, France; Rijkswaterstaat, Netherlands; Danish Meteorological Institute; Norwegian Hydrographic Service; Icelandic Coastguard Service; Istituto Talassographico di Trieste; Venice Commune, Italy;

Temporal coverage 04 January 1846 - 01 May 2015
Spatial coverage World
File format Documents, Text or Plaintext
Language English
Discovery metadata record Link to the related European Directory of Marine Environmental Data (EDMED) record
Publisher British Oceanographic Data Centre - Natural Environment Research Council, UK
Publication date 31 August 2016
Digital Object Identifier (DOI) doi:10.5285/3b602f74-8374-1e90-e053-6c86abc08d39
Short DOI doi:10/bp74
Citation text Woodworth P.L.; Hunter J.R.; Marcos Moreno M.; Caldwell P.C.; Menendez M.; Haigh I.D. (2016). GESLA (Global Extreme Sea Level Analysis) high frequency sea level dataset - Version 2. British Oceanographic Data Centre - Natural Environment Research Council, UK. doi:10/bp74.

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