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Liverpool, United Kingdom

Woodworth P.L.,Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory | Pouvreau N.,French National Center for Space Studies | Woppelmann G.,University of La Rochelle
Ocean Science | Year: 2010

The relationship between the gyre-scale circulation of the North Atlantic, represented by air pressure near to the centre of the sub-tropical gyre, and sea level measured at the eastern boundary of the ocean has been investigated using records commencing in the middle of the 18th century. These time series are twice as long as those employed in an earlier study of this relationship. Near-continuous values of annual mean sea level and mean high water from Brest, and air pressure fields for the eastern North Atlantic derived from terrestrial instrumental pressure records and ship logbook information, have been used to demonstrate that sea level on the eastern boundary does indeed appear to be related to air pressure at the centre of the gyre (subject to reservations concerning short sub-sections of data near to the ends of the records). These findings confirm the earlier conclusions but over much longer timescales. This relationship can explain at least part of the century timescale accelerations in European sea level records obtained from tide gauge and saltmarsh data. This finding has important implications for interpretation of the observed sea level rise and acceleration on the European Atlantic coast, suggesting that redistribution of water could play an important role instead of (or as well as) change in ocean volume.

Menendez M.,University of Cantabria | Woodworth P.L.,Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory
Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans | Year: 2010

A quasi-global sea level data set from tide gauges has been used to investigate extreme sea level events and their spatial and temporal variabilities. Modern methods based on a nonstationary extreme value analysis have been applied to the maxima of the total elevations and surges for the period of 1970 and onward. A subset of the data was used to study changes over the 20th century. The analyses demonstrate the magnitude and timing of the seasonal cycle of extreme sea level occurrence, the magnitude of long-term trends in extreme sea levels, the evidence for perigean and nodal astronomical tidal components in the extremes, and the relationship of the interannual variability in high water levels to other ocean and atmosphere variations as represented by climate indices. The subtraction from the extreme sea levels of the corresponding annual median sea level results in a reduction in the magnitude of trends at most stations, leading to the conclusion that much of the change in the extremes is due to change in the mean values. Copyright 2010 by the American Geophysical Union.

Gomez N.,Harvard University | Mitrovica J.X.,Harvard University | Tamisiea M.E.,Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory | Clark P.U.,Oregon State University
Geophysical Journal International | Year: 2010

We present gravitationally self-consistent predictions of sea level change that would follow the disappearance of either the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) or marine sectors of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet (EAIS). Our predictions are based on a state-of-the-art pseudo-spectral sea level algorithm that incorporates deformational, gravitational and rotational effects on sea level, as well as the migration of shorelines due to both local sea-level variations and changes in the extent of marine-based ice cover. If we define the effective eustatic value (EEV) as the geographically uniform rise in sea level once all marine-based sectors have been filled with water, then we find that some locations can experience a sea level rise that is ∼40 per cent higher than the EEV. This enhancement is due to the migration of water away from the zone of melting in response to the loss of gravitational attraction towards the ice sheet (load self-attraction), the expulsion of water from marine areas as these regions rebound due to the unloading, and the feedback into sea level of a contemporaneous perturbation in Earth rotation. In the WAIS case, this peak enhancement is twice the value predicted in a previous projection that did not include expulsion of water from exposed marine-sectors of the West Antarctic or rotational feedback. The peak enhancements occur over the coasts of the United States and in the Indian Ocean in the WAIS melt scenario, and over the south Atlantic and northwest Pacific in the EAIS scenario. We conclude that accurate projections of the sea level hazard associated with ongoing global warming should be based on a theory that includes the complete suite of physical processes described above. © 2009 The Authors Journal compilation © 2009 RAS.

Palmer M.R.,Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory
Ocean Dynamics | Year: 2010

Understanding the fate of freshwater runoff and corresponding nutrient and pollution loads is of critical importance for the development of accurate predictive models and coastal management tools. A key element of such studies is the identification and understanding of the interaction between stratification and current structure. This paper presents a new series of measurements made in the Liverpool Bay region of freshwater influence (ROFI) during spring 2004 where freshwater-maintained horizontal density gradients and strong tidal currents interact to produce strain-induced periodic stratification (SIPS). During stratification, tidal current profiles are significantly modified such that the tidal flow deviates from the otherwise rectilinear E-W axis generating counter rotating upper and lower mixed layers. This feature has often been reported for the Rhine ROFI but not previously identified in Liverpool Bay despite previous investigation at this site. Investigation of an ongoing long-term dataset collected nearby reveals this process to be a common feature throughout the year. Liverpool Bay is shown to maintain three different regimes, long term mixed, long term stratified, and a transitional state when SIPS occurs. The phase of SIPS relative to the tide results in a residual flow away from the Welsh coastline in the upper water column of 2.3-3.6 cm s-1 with a counterflow in the lower layer of 2.8-3.1 cm s-1 towards the coast. © Springer-Verlag 2009.

Grinsted A.,University of Lapland | Grinsted A.,Copenhagen University | Moore J.C.,University of Lapland | Moore J.C.,University of Oulu | Jevrejeva S.,Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory
Climate Dynamics | Year: 2010

We use a physically plausible four parameter linear response equation to relate 2,000 years of global temperatures and sea level. We estimate likelihood distributions of equation parameters using Monte Carlo inversion, which then allows visualization of past and future sea level scenarios. The model has good predictive power when calibrated on the pre-1990 period and validated against the high rates of sea level rise from the satellite altimetry. Future sea level is projected from intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC) temperature scenarios and past sea level from established multi-proxy reconstructions assuming that the established relationship between temperature and sea level holds from 200 to 2100 ad. Over the last 2,000 years minimum sea level (-19 to -26 cm) occurred around 1730 ad, maximum sea level (12-21 cm) around 1150 ad. Sea level 2090-2099 is projected to be 0.9 to 1.3 m for the A1B scenario, with low probability of the rise being within IPCC confidence limits. © Springer-Verlag 2008.

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