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Journal Articles Scientific Reports Year : 2019

North Atlantic Ocean Circulation and Decadal Sea Level Change During the Altimetry Era

Abstract

Regional sea-level rise is characterized by decadal acceleration and deceleration periods that typically stem from oceanic climate variability. Here, we investigate decadal sea-level trends during the altimetry era and pin down the associated ocean circulation changes. We find that decadal subpolar gyre cooling (warming), strengthening (weakening), widening (shrinking) since the mid-2000s (early 1990s) resulted in negative (positive) sea level trends of −7.1 mm/yr ± 1.3 mm/yr (3.9 mm/yr ± 1.5 mm/yr). These large-scale changes further coincide with steric sea-level trends, and are driven by decadal-scale ocean circulation variability. Sea level on the European shelf, however, is found to correlate well with along-slope winds (R = 0.78), suggesting it plays a central role in driving the associated low-frequency dynamic sea level variability. Furthermore, when the North Atlantic is in a cooling (warming) period, the winds along the eastern boundary are predominantly from the North (South), which jointly drive a slowdown (rapid increase) in shelf and coastal sea level rise. Understanding the mechanisms that produce these connections may be critical for interpreting future regional sea-level trends.
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Dates and versions

hal-02046032 , version 1 (22-02-2019)

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Léon Chafik, Jan Even Øie Nilsen, Sönke Dangendorf, Gilles Reverdin, Thomas Frederikse. North Atlantic Ocean Circulation and Decadal Sea Level Change During the Altimetry Era. Scientific Reports, 2019, 9, pp.1041. ⟨10.1038/s41598-018-37603-6⟩. ⟨hal-02046032⟩
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