Realizing the European Vertical Reference System using model-based hydrodynamic leveling data

Y. Afrasteh*, D. C. Slobbe, M. Sacher, M. Verlaan, R. Klees, H. Guarneri, L. Keyzer, J. Pietrzak, M. Snellen, More Authors

*Corresponding author for this work

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All realizations of the European Vertical Reference System (EVRS) computed so far are solely based on geopotential differences obtained by spirit leveling/gravimetry. As such, there are no direct connections between height benchmarks separated by large water bodies. In this study, such connections are added by means of model-based hydrodynamic leveling resulting in a new, yet unofficial realization of the EVRS. The model-derived mean water levels used in computing the hydrodynamic leveling connections were obtained from the Nemo-Nordic (Baltic Sea) and 3D DCSM-FM (northwest European continental shelf) hydrodynamic models. The impact of model-based hydrodynamic leveling on the European Vertical Reference Frame is significant, especially for France and Great Britain. Compared to a solution which only uses spirit leveling/gravimetry, the differences in these countries reach tens to hundreds of kgalmm . We also observed an improved agreement with normal heights obtained by differencing GNSS and the European gravimetric quasi-geoid 2015 (EGG2015) heights. In Great Britain, the south-north slope of 48 mm deg - 1 present in the solution which uses only spirit leveling/gravimetry data reduced to 2.2 mm deg - 1 . In France, the improvement is confined to the southwest. The choice of the period over which water levels are averaged has an impact on the results as it determines, among others, the set of tide gauges available to establish the hydrodynamic leveling connections. When using an averaging period that can be considered as the least preferred choice based on three established criteria, the positive impact for France has gone. For Great Britain, the estimated south-north slope became 12.6 mm deg - 1 . This is larger than the slope obtained using the most preferred averaging period but still substantially lower compared to the slope associated with a solution that uses only spirit leveling/gravimetry.

Original languageEnglish
Article number86
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Geodesy
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Height system realization
  • Hydrodynamic leveling
  • Tide gauge


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