Australian Weather Calendar

Captions and picture bylines below.
Tide gauge in Queensland. Cross-section illustration of a typical sea level and climate monitoring station.

April: Tracking tides and sea-level change

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NOEL Sears’ workplace includes parts of the Indian, Pacific and Southern Oceans. As a technical officer of the Bureau of Meteorology’s National Tidal Centre, he helps maintain about 30 tide gauges which transmit real-time data on tides, storm surges and tsunamis, and also monitor changing sea levels.

The Bureau operates specialist SEAFRAME gauges to establish long-term changes in sea level due to climate change. At individual sites, precise optical levelling and highly accurate continuous GPS monitoring by Geoscience Australia detects any rises or falls in surrounding land, or jetty movements. These fluctuations (of significance to local communities) can be removed from the global sea-level comparisons.

The National Tidal Centre collects the data from these and other sources and makes them publicly available. It also plays a major role in ensuring safety for all users of the coastal environment by supplying the official tidal predictions for more than 100 of Australia’s major ports and shipping channels.