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Spatial and temporal variations of the seasonal sea level cycle in the northwest Pacific

Feng, X. ORCID:, Tsimplis, M. N., Marcos, M., Calalfat, F. M., Zheng, J., Jorda, G. and Cipollini, P. (2015) Spatial and temporal variations of the seasonal sea level cycle in the northwest Pacific. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 120 (10). pp. 7091-7112. ISSN 2169-9291

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1002/2015JC011154


The seasonal sea level variations observed from tide gauges over 1900-2013 and gridded satellite altimeter product AVISO over 1993-2013 in the northwest Pacific have been explored. The seasonal cycle is able to explain 60-90% of monthly sea level variance in the marginal seas, while it explains less than 20% of variance in the eddy-rich regions. The maximum annual and semi-annual sea level cycles (30cm and 6cm) are observed in the north of the East China Sea and the west of the South China Sea respectively. AVISO was found to underestimate the annual amplitude by 25% compared to tide gauge estimates along the coasts of China and Russia. The forcing for the seasonal sea level cycle was identified. The atmospheric pressure and the steric height produce 8-12cm of the annual cycle in the middle continental shelf and in the Kuroshio Current regions separately. The removal of the two attributors from total sea level permits to identify the sea level residuals that still show significant seasonality in the marginal seas. Both nearby wind stress and surface currents can explain well the long-term variability of the seasonal sea level cycle in the marginal seas and the tropics because of their influence on the sea level residuals. Interestingly, the surface currents are a better descriptor in the areas where the ocean currents are known to be strong. Here, they explain 50-90% of inter-annual variability due to the strong links between the steric height and the large-scale ocean currents.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:44451
Publisher:American Geophysical Union


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