The objectives of the Topex/Poseidon mission, as announced in 1992, were:
– to study ocean circulation on a large scale including its interaction with the atmosphere, to improve our knowledge of the role of the ocean in the global climate,
– to increase our understanding of heat transport in the ocean,
– to model the tides,
– to improve the geophysical study of the marine geoid by analysing altimetry measurements and the accurate location of ground beacons,
– to calculate variation trends in mean sea level on a global scale (an indicator of the greenhouse effect).
The first research proposals for Topex/Poseidon data were therefore mainly focused on large-scale ocean circulation, with another being the modelling of tides offshore (the orbit was deliberately chosen to measure all tidal componants, whichever their period), as well as several geodesy studies.

Further information on Topex/Poseidon (Aviso website)