Geophysical Research Letters
Understanding and explaining the trend in global mean sea level (GMSL) have important implications for future projections of sea level rise. While measurements from satellite altimetry have provided accurate estimates of GMSL, the modern altimetry record has only now reached 20 years in length, making it difficult to assess the contribution of decadal to multidecadal climate signals to the global trend. Here, we use a sea level reconstruction to study the 20 year trends in sea level since 1950. In particular, we show that the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) contributes significantly to the 20 year trends in GMSL. We estimate the PDO contribution to the GMSL trend over the past 20 years to be approximately 0.49 ± 0.25 mm/year and find that removing the PDO contribution reduces the acceleration in GMSL estimated over the past 60 years. Key Points The PDO has contributed 0.49 mm/yr to the current altimetry GMSL trend The PDO has a large impact on regional and global sea level trends Reconstructions allow for the study of decadal-scale climate variability.
Original Publication Citation
Hamlington, B.D., Leben, R.R., Strassburg, M.W., Nerem, R.S., & Kim, K.Y. (2013). Contribution of the pacific decadal oscillation to global mean sea level trends. Geophysical Research Letters, 40(19), 5171-5175. doi: 10.1002/grl.50950
Hamlington, B. D.; Leben, R. R.; Strassburg, M. W.; Nerem, R. S.; and Kim, K-Y., "Contribution of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation to Global Mean Sea Level Trends" (2013). CCPO Publications. 145.