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Improving sea level simulation in Mediterranean regional climate models

Adloff, F., Jordà, G., Somot, S., Sevault, F., Arsouze, T., Meyssignac, B., Li, L. and Planton, S. (2018) Improving sea level simulation in Mediterranean regional climate models. Climate Dynamics, 51 (3). pp. 1167-1178. ISSN 0930-7575

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1007/s00382-017-3842-3


For now, the question about future sea level change in the Mediterranean remains a challenge. Previous climate modelling attempts to estimate future sea level change in the Mediterranean did not meet a consensus. The low resolution of CMIP-type models prevents an accurate representation of important small scales processes acting over the Mediterranean region. For this reason among others, the use of high resolution regional ocean modelling has been recommended in literature to address the question of ongoing and future Mediterranean sea level change in response to climate change or greenhouse gases emissions. Also, it has been shown that east Atlantic sea level variability is the dominant driver of the Mediterranean variability at interannual and interdecadal scales. However, up to now, long-term regional simulations of the Mediterranean Sea do not integrate the full sea level information from the Atlantic, which is a substantial shortcoming when analysing Mediterranean sea level response. In the present study we analyse different approaches followed by state-of-the-art regional climate models to simulate Mediterranean sea level variability. Additionally we present a new simulation which incorporates improved information of Atlantic sea level forcing at the lateral boundary. We evaluate the skills of the different simulations in the frame of long-term hindcast simulations spanning from 1980 to 2012 analysing sea level variability from seasonal to multidecadal scales. Results from the new simulation show a substantial improvement in the modelled Mediterranean sea level signal. This confirms that Mediterranean mean sea level is strongly influenced by the Atlantic conditions, and thus suggests that the quality of the information in the lateral boundary conditions (LBCs) is crucial for the good modelling of Mediterranean sea level. We also found that the regional differences inside the basin, that are induced by circulation changes, are model-dependent and thus not affected by the LBCs. Finally, we argue that a correct configuration of LBCs in the Atlantic should be used for future Mediterranean simulations, which cover hindcast period, but also for scenarios.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:71980


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