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Special Issue "Sea Level Changes"

A special issue of Water (ISSN 2073-4441).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 April 2017)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Aixue Hu

Climate Change Research Section (CCR), Global Climate Dynamics Laboratory (CGD), National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), 1850 Table Mesa Dr. Boulder, CO 80305, USA
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +1-303-497-1334
Fax: +1-303-497-1348
Interests: Global and regional sea level change in the past and future; Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation and its impact on global and regional climate; influence of Decadal-interdecadal variability on global and regional climate

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Observational evidence shows that the global mean sea level has been rising over the 20th century at a rate of 1.8 cm per decade. Satellite observations in the most recent 20 years suggest the sea is rising at a rate of about 3.3 cm per decade. Coupled model intercomparison project phase 5 simulations indicate that the global sea level will rise up by 1 m by the end of the 21st century. If this rising sea is compounded with storm surges, it can generate a significant impact to coastal commnunities. Thus, it is important to sudy the changes of the sea level of the past and future in order to assess, not only the global mean sea level changes, but also the regional sea level changes, since the changes of sea level are not globally uniform. Moreover, the changes of the regional sea level are affected by both external forces and internal climate variability, such as changes of the Pacific decadal Oscilation, and the Atlantic overturning circulation. In this Special Issue, we welcome studies on sea level changes due to both external forces and internal variability, on the global and regional scales, for the past and the future.

Dr. Aixue Hu
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • sea level change
  • internal variability
  • decadal variability
  • external forcing
  • ice cap and glaciers and ice sheets
  • thermal steric sea level
  • dynamic sea level

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Impact of Geophysical and Datum Corrections on Absolute Sea-Level Trends from Tide Gauges around Taiwan, 1993–2015
Water 2017, 9(7), 480; doi:10.3390/w9070480
Received: 30 April 2017 / Revised: 14 June 2017 / Accepted: 28 June 2017 / Published: 1 July 2017
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Abstract
The Taiwanese government has established a complete tide gauge network along the coastline for accurate sea-level monitoring. In this study, we analyze several factors impacting the determination of absolute or geocentric sea-level trends—including ocean tides, inverted barometer effect, datum shift, and vertical land
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The Taiwanese government has established a complete tide gauge network along the coastline for accurate sea-level monitoring. In this study, we analyze several factors impacting the determination of absolute or geocentric sea-level trends—including ocean tides, inverted barometer effect, datum shift, and vertical land motion—using tide gauge records near Taiwan, from 1993–2015. The results show that datum shifts and vertical land motion have a significant impact on sea-level trends with a respective average contribution of 7.3 and 8.0 mm/yr, whereas ocean tides and inverted barometer effects have a relatively minor impact, representing 9% and 14% of the observed trend, respectively. These results indicate that datum shifts and vertical land motion effects have to be removed in the tide gauge records for accurate sea-level estimates. Meanwhile, the estimated land motions show that the southwestern plain has larger subsidence rates, for example, the Boziliao, Dongshi, and Wengang tide gauge stations exhibit a rate of 24–31 mm/yr as a result of groundwater pumping. We find that the absolute sea-level trends around Taiwan derived from tide gauges or satellite altimetry agree well with each other, and are estimated to be 2.2 mm/yr for 1993–2015, which is significantly slower than the global average sea-level rise trend of 3.2 mm/yr from satellite altimeters. Finally, a recent hiatus in sea-level rise in this region exhibits good agreement with the interannual and decadal variabilities associated with the El Niño-Southern Oscillation and Pacific Decadal Oscillation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sea Level Changes)
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Open AccessArticle Analyzing the Effect of Ocean Internal Variability on Depth-Integrated Steric Sea-Level Rise Trends Using a Low-Resolution CESM Ensemble
Water 2017, 9(7), 483; doi:10.3390/w9070483
Received: 14 March 2017 / Revised: 8 May 2017 / Accepted: 27 June 2017 / Published: 1 July 2017
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Abstract
Ocean heat uptake is a key indicator of climate change, in part because it contributes to sea-level rise. Quantifying the uncertainties surrounding ocean heat uptake and sea-level rise are important in assessing climate-related risks. Here, comprehensive global climate model ensembles are used to
[...] Read more.
Ocean heat uptake is a key indicator of climate change, in part because it contributes to sea-level rise. Quantifying the uncertainties surrounding ocean heat uptake and sea-level rise are important in assessing climate-related risks. Here, comprehensive global climate model ensembles are used to evaluate uncertainties surrounding decadal trends in depth-integrated global steric sea-level rise due to thermal expansion of the ocean. Results are presented against observational estimates, which are used as a guide to the state of recent literature. The first ensemble uses the Community Earth System Model (CESM), which samples the effects of internal variability within the coupled Earth system including contributions from the sub-surface ocean. We compare and contrast these results with an ensemble based on the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5), which samples the combined effects of structural model differences and internal variability. The effects of both internal variability and structural model differences contribute substantially to uncertainties in modeled steric sea-level trends for recent decades, and the magnitude of these effects varies with depth. The 95% range in total sea-level rise trends across the CESM ensemble is 0.151 mm·year−1 for 1957–2013, while this range is 0.895 mm·year−1 for CMIP5. These ranges increase during the more recent decade of 2005–2015 to 0.509 mm·year−1 and 1.096 mm·year−1 for CESM and CMIP5, respectively. The uncertainties are amplified for regional assessments, highlighting the importance of both internal variability and structural model differences when considering uncertainties surrounding modeled sea-level trends. Results can potentially provide useful constraints on estimations of global and regional sea-level variability, in particular for areas with few observations such as the deep ocean and Southern Hemisphere. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sea Level Changes)
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Open AccessArticle Halosteric Sea Level Changes during the Argo Era
Water 2017, 9(7), 484; doi:10.3390/w9070484
Received: 29 April 2017 / Revised: 21 June 2017 / Accepted: 28 June 2017 / Published: 1 July 2017
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Abstract
In addition to the sea level (SL) change, or anomaly (SLA), due to ocean thermal expansion, total steric SLA (SSLA, all change to the existing volume of ocean water) is also affected by ocean salinity variation. Less attention, however, has been paid to
[...] Read more.
In addition to the sea level (SL) change, or anomaly (SLA), due to ocean thermal expansion, total steric SLA (SSLA, all change to the existing volume of ocean water) is also affected by ocean salinity variation. Less attention, however, has been paid to this halosteric effect, due to the global dominance of thermosteric SLA (TSLA) and the scarcity of salinity measurements. Here, we analyze halosteric SLA (HSLA) since 2005, when Argo data reached near-global ocean coverage, based on several observational products. We find that, on global average, the halosteric component contributes negatively by ~5.8% to SSLA during the 2005–2015 period, and reveals a modest correlation (~0.38) with ENSO on the inter-annual scale. Vertically, the global ocean was saltier in the upper 200-m and fresher within 200 to 600-m since 2005, while the change below 600-m was not significantly different from zero. The upper 200-m changes dominate the HSLA, suggesting the importance of surface fresh water flux forcing; meanwhile, the ocean dynamic might also play a role. The inconsistent pattern of salinity trend between upper 200-m and 200 to 600-m implies the importance of ocean dynamics. Our analysis suggests that local salinity changes cannot be neglected, and can even play a more important role in SSLA than the thermosteric component in some regions, such as the Tropical/North Pacific Ocean, the Southern Ocean, and the North Atlantic Ocean. This study highlights the need to better reconstruct historical salinity datasets, to better monitor the past SSLA changes. Also, it is important to understand the mechanisms (ocean dynamics vs. surface flux) related to regional ocean salinity changes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sea Level Changes)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Role of Perturbing Ocean Initial Condition in Simulated Regional Sea Level Change
Water 2017, 9(6), 401; doi:10.3390/w9060401
Received: 28 April 2017 / Revised: 27 May 2017 / Accepted: 31 May 2017 / Published: 5 June 2017
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Abstract
Multiple lines of observational evidence indicate that the global climate has been getting warmer since the early 20th century. This warmer climate has led to a global mean sea level rise of about 18 cm during the 20th century, and over 6 cm
[...] Read more.
Multiple lines of observational evidence indicate that the global climate has been getting warmer since the early 20th century. This warmer climate has led to a global mean sea level rise of about 18 cm during the 20th century, and over 6 cm for the first 15 years of the 21st century. Regionally the sea level rise is not uniform due in large part to internal climate variability. To better serve the community, the uncertainties of predicting/projecting regional sea level changes associated with internal climate variability need to be quantified. Previous research on this topic has used single-model large ensembles with perturbed atmospheric initial conditions (ICs). Here we compare uncertainties associated with perturbing ICs in just the atmosphere and just the ocean using a state-of-the-art coupled climate model. We find that by perturbing the oceanic ICs, the uncertainties in regional sea level changes increase compared to those with perturbed atmospheric ICs. Thus, in order for us to better assess the full spectrum of the impacts of such internal climate variability on regional and global sea level rise, approaches that involve perturbing both atmospheric and oceanic initial conditions are necessary. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sea Level Changes)
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Open AccessArticle Interannual and Decadal Variability in Tropical Pacific Sea Level
Water 2017, 9(6), 402; doi:10.3390/w9060402
Received: 29 April 2017 / Revised: 30 May 2017 / Accepted: 2 June 2017 / Published: 5 June 2017
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Abstract
A notable feature in the first 20-year satellite altimetry records is an anomalously fast sea level rise (SLR) in the western Pacific impacting island nations in this region. This observed trend is due to a combination of internal variability and external forcing. The
[...] Read more.
A notable feature in the first 20-year satellite altimetry records is an anomalously fast sea level rise (SLR) in the western Pacific impacting island nations in this region. This observed trend is due to a combination of internal variability and external forcing. The dominant mode of dynamic sea level (DSL) variability in the tropical Pacific presents as an east-west see-saw pattern. To assess model skill in simulating this variability mode, we compare 38 Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5) models with 23-year satellite data, 55-year reanalysis products, and 60–year sea level reconstruction. We find that models underestimate variance in the Pacific sea level see-saw, especially at decadal, and longer, time scales. The interannual underestimation is likely due to a relatively low variability in the tropical zonal wind stress. Decadal sea level variability may be influenced by additional factors, such as wind stress at higher latitudes, subtropical gyre position and strength, and eddy heat transport. The interannual variability of the Niño 3.4 index is better represented in CMIP5 models despite low tropical Pacific wind stress variability. However, as with sea level, variability in the Niño 3.4 index is underestimated on decadal time scales. Our results show that DSL should be considered, in addition to sea surface temperature (SST), when evaluating model performance in capturing Pacific variability, as it is directly related to heat content in the ocean column. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sea Level Changes)
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Open AccessArticle Global Sea Surface Temperature and Sea Level Rise Estimation with Optimal Historical Time Lag Data
Water 2016, 8(11), 519; doi:10.3390/w8110519
Received: 28 August 2016 / Revised: 2 November 2016 / Accepted: 4 November 2016 / Published: 8 November 2016
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (1305 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Prediction of global temperatures and sea level rise (SLR) is important for sustainable development planning of coastal regions of the world and the health and safety of communities living in these regions. In this study, climate change effects on sea level rise is
[...] Read more.
Prediction of global temperatures and sea level rise (SLR) is important for sustainable development planning of coastal regions of the world and the health and safety of communities living in these regions. In this study, climate change effects on sea level rise is investigated using a dynamic system model (DSM) with time lag on historical input data. A time-invariant (TI-DSM) and time-variant dynamic system model (TV-DSM) with time lag is developed to predict global temperatures and SLR in the 21st century. The proposed model is an extension of the DSM developed by the authors. The proposed model includes the effect of temperature and sea level states of several previous years on the current temperature and sea level over stationary and also moving scale time periods. The optimal time lag period used in the model is determined by minimizing a synthetic performance index comprised of the root mean square error and coefficient of determination which is a measure for the reliability of the predictions. Historical records of global temperature and sea level from 1880 to 2001 are used to calibrate the model. The optimal time lag is determined to be eight years, based on the performance measures. The calibrated model was then used to predict the global temperature and sea levels in the 21st century using a fixed time lag period and moving scale time lag periods. To evaluate the adverse effect of greenhouse gas emissions on SLR, the proposed model was also uncoupled to project the SLR based on global temperatures that are obtained from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) emission scenarios. The projected SLR estimates for the 21st century are presented comparatively with the predictions made in previous studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sea Level Changes)
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Open AccessArticle Interannual Variability in Global Mean Sea Level Estimated from the CESM Large and Last Millennium Ensembles
Water 2016, 8(11), 491; doi:10.3390/w8110491
Received: 24 September 2016 / Revised: 25 October 2016 / Accepted: 26 October 2016 / Published: 31 October 2016
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (2595 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
To better understand global mean sea level (GMSL) as an indicator of climate variability and change, contributions to its interannual variation are quantified in the Community Earth System Model (CESM) Large Ensemble and Last Millennium Ensemble. Consistent with expectations, the El Niño/Southern Oscillation
[...] Read more.
To better understand global mean sea level (GMSL) as an indicator of climate variability and change, contributions to its interannual variation are quantified in the Community Earth System Model (CESM) Large Ensemble and Last Millennium Ensemble. Consistent with expectations, the El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is found to exert a strong influence due to variability in rainfall over land (PL) and terrestrial water storage (TWS). Other important contributors include changes in ocean heat content (OHC) and precipitable water (PW). The temporal evolution of individual contributing terms is documented. The magnitude of peak GMSL anomalies associated with ENSO generally are of the order of 0.5 mm·K−1 with significant inter-event variability, with a standard deviation (σ) that is about half as large The results underscore the exceptional rarity of the 2010/2011 La Niña-related GMSL drop and estimate the frequency of such an event to be about only once in every 75 years. In addition to ENSO, major volcanic eruptions are found to be a key driver of interannual variability. Associated GMSL variability contrasts with that of ENSO as TWS and PW anomalies initially offset the drop due to OHC reductions but short-lived relative to them. Responses up to 25 mm are estimated for the largest eruptions of the Last Millennium. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sea Level Changes)
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Open AccessArticle Sea Level Acceleration in the China Seas
Water 2016, 8(7), 293; doi:10.3390/w8070293
Received: 19 April 2016 / Revised: 18 June 2016 / Accepted: 8 July 2016 / Published: 15 July 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (4825 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
While global mean sea level rise (SLR) and acceleration (SLA) are indicators of climate change and are informative regarding the current state of the climate, assessments of regional and local SLR are essential for policy makers responding to, and preparing for, changes in
[...] Read more.
While global mean sea level rise (SLR) and acceleration (SLA) are indicators of climate change and are informative regarding the current state of the climate, assessments of regional and local SLR are essential for policy makers responding to, and preparing for, changes in sea level. In this work, three acceleration detection techniques are used to demonstrate the robust SLA in the China Seas. Interannual to multidecadal sea level variations (periods >2 years), which are mainly related to natural internal climate variability and significantly affect estimation of sea level acceleration, are removed with empirical mode decomposition (EMD) analysis prior to the acceleration determination. Consistent SLAs of 0.085 ± 0.020 mm·yr−2 (1950–2013) and 0.074 ± 0.032 mm·yr−2 (1959–2013) in regional tide gauge records are shown to result from the three applied approaches in the Bohai Sea (BS) and East China Sea (ECS), respectively. The SLAs can be detected in records as short as 20 years if long-term sea level variability is adequately removed. The spatial distribution of SLA derived from a sea level reconstruction shows significant SLA in the BS, Yellow Sea (YS) and Yangtze River Estuary. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sea Level Changes)

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