Going with the tide: new horizons

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I use a number of aggregators to alert me daily to news of performances in sport and some of the research literature. I have added data science links to this mix as part of my ongoing search for resources for #UCSIA15.

Each day feels like beachcombing.

Today I had a real beach outcome. The Conversation (in Australia) published a post by Christopher Watson, John Church and Matt King titled Sea level is rising fast – and it seems to be speeding up. There is a link to their paper in Nature Climate Change.

I was particularly interested in their methodology and thought it resonated strongly with my interest in the conjunction of remote sensing and local observation. Christopher and his colleagues compared satellite observations of sea level with tide gauges. They note:

We use this comparison to determine small biases in the satellite data that have changed over time. Understanding how the land supporting the tide gauges is moving becomes an important part of these comparisons.

Their approach prompted two immediate thoughts: how helpful it is to explore methodological approaches from other fields of study; how will we deal with longitudinal data in sport science, particularly if we develop a cumulative approach to data.

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The abstract in Nature Climate Change includes these points:

  • Satellite-based global mean sea-level (GMSL) estimates do not include an allowance for potential instrumental drifts.
  • We report improved bias drift estimates for individual altimeter missions from a refined estimation approach that incorporates new Global Positioning System (GPS) estimates of vertical land movement (VLM).
  • We identify significant non-zero systematic drifts that are satellite-specific, most notably affecting the first 6 years of the GMSL record.

I have followed up on this paper by looking at other research conducted by Christopher and Matt at the University of Tasmania. Without stretching the potential of the links between their work and sport too far, it does seem to me that we have a lot to learn from them about the ecology of performance.

I do think our community of practice in sport will flourish as we engage with other disciplines in an age of the quantified self.

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