May 15, 2017

Causes of accelerating sea level on the East Coast of North America

Davis, James L., Vinogradova, Nadya T.
Geophysical Research Letters
  • States that the tide-gauge record from the North American east coast reveals significant accelerations in sea level starting in the late 20th century
  • States that the estimated post-1990 accelerations range from near zero to ∼0.3 mm yr−2
  • Finds that the observed sea-level acceleration is well modeled using several processes: mass change in Greenland and Antarctica as measured by the GRACE satellites; ocean dynamic and steric variability provided by the GECCO2 ocean synthesis; and the inverted barometer effect
  • States, however, that to achieve this fit requires estimation of an admittance for the dynamical and steric contribution, possibly due to the coarse resolution of this analysis or to simplifications associated with parameterization of bottom friction in the shallow coastal areas
  • Finds that the acceleration from ice loss alone is equivalent to a regional sea-level rise in one century of 0.2 m in the north and 0.75 m in the south of this region