NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Global map of sea surface height. The map shows the mean height of the sea surface relative to a geoid, a surface of constant gravitational potential. The level of the geoid is shown as a pale green. Dark green, blue and magenta areas are increasingly lower than the geoid; yellow, orange, red and white areas are increasingly higher than the geoid. The total spread of heights is about 2 metres. The distribution of highs and lows is analagous to pressure systems in atmospheric dynamics, and is related to the distribution and dynamics of ocean currents. The data for this image were gathered by the TOPEX/Poseidon satellite on 3-12 October 1992.
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