Observed Sea-Level Changes along the Norwegian Coast
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2017, 5(3), 29; doi:10.3390/jmse5030029 (registering DOI)
Received: 31 May 2017 / Revised: 30 June 2017 / Accepted: 12 July 2017 / Published: 17 July 2017
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Norway’s national sea level observing system consists of an extensive array of tide gauges, permanent GNSS stations, and lines of repeated levelling. Here, we make use of this observation system to calculate relative sea-level rates and rates corrected for glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA)
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Norway’s national sea level observing system consists of an extensive array of tide gauges, permanent GNSS stations, and lines of repeated levelling. Here, we make use of this observation system to calculate relative sea-level rates and rates corrected for glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA) along the Norwegian coast for three different periods, i.e., 1960 to 2010, 1984 to 2014, and 1993 to 2016. For all periods, the relative sea-level rates show considerable spatial variations that are largely due to differences in vertical land motion due to GIA. The variation is reduced by applying corrections for vertical land motion and associated gravitational effects on sea level. For 1960 to 2010 and 1984 to 2014, the coastal average GIA-corrected rates for Norway are 2.0 ± 0.6 mm/year and 2.2 ± 0.6 mm/year, respectively. This is close to the rate of global sea-level rise for the same periods. For the most recent period, 1993 to 2016, the GIA-corrected coastal average is 3.5 ± 0.6 mm/year and 3.2 ± 0.6 mm/year with and without inverse barometer (IB) corrections, respectively, which is significantly higher than for the two earlier periods. For 1993 to 2016, the coastal average IB-corrected rates show broad agreement with two independent sets of altimetry. This suggests that there is no systematic error in the vertical land motion corrections applied to the tide-gauge data. At the same time, altimetry does not capture the spatial variation identified in the tide-gauge records. This could be an effect of using altimetry observations off the coast instead of directly at each tide gauge. Finally, we note that, owing to natural variability in the climate system, our estimates are highly sensitive to the selected study period. For example, using a 30-year moving window, we find that the estimated rates may change by up to 1 mm/year when shifting the start epoch by only one year.