Management of Data and Information
New Laser Tide Gauge System Delivers Reliable Tide Data Faster
The Canadian Hydrographic Service operates Canada’s tide gauge networks — an essential safety resource for mariners and coastal communities. Tide gauges provide the data to make tidal predictions, improve nautical charts, seamlessly link land topography with ocean bathymetry, monitor sea level rise, and allow Canada’s emergency measures organizations to monitor storm surge and tsunami activity in real time.
As part of work that began in 2005 to improve the reliability and timeliness of Canadian tide gauge data, the service’s technical staff developed an important new laser tide gauge system. Using this system, Canada now provides more accurate data from ice-prone locations to the Global Sea Level Observing System (GLOSS), which coordinates and collects data for sea level rise, climate, oceanographic and coastal sea level research. The first systems were deployed late in 2008 at locations near Halifax, Nova Scotia, St. John’s and Nain, Newfoundland and Labrador (where winter temperatures routinely drop below -30° to -40° C).
The new laser tide gauge is ideal for its mission — simple, accurate, precise and reliable, it provides stable and repeatable results, and is inexpensive to build, deploy and maintain. For cold, ice-prone locations, the new laser system achieves a better balance of these characteristics. Its insulated and heated multi-well stilling well provides for three independent water level measurements and its main laser sensor has no moving parts, requires no on-site calibration and is accurate to within 1.5 mm.
During 2009–2010, the new laser systems proved their capabilities and four more systems were built, two of which were deployed in 2010 at Bonavista and St. Lawrence, Newfoundland and Labrador. Plans are under way to install similar systems at other ice-prone Atlantic tide gauge sites.
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