Document Type


Publication Date




Publication Title

Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans








Over the past two decades, sea level measurements made by satellites have given clear indications of both global and regional sea level rise. Numerous studies have sought to leverage the modern satellite record and available historic sea level data provided by tide gauges to estimate past sea level rise, leading to several estimates for the 20th century trend in global mean sea level in the range between 1 and 2 mm/yr. On regional scales, few attempts have been made to estimate trends over the same time period. This is due largely to the inhomogeneity and quality of the tide gauge network through the 20th century, which render commonly used reconstruction techniques inadequate. Here, a new approach is adopted, integrating data from a select set of tide gauges with prior estimates of spatial structure based on historical sea level forcing information from the major contributing processes over the past century. The resulting map of 20th century regional sea level rise is optimized to agree with the tide gauge-measured trends, and provides an indication of the likely contributions of different sources to regional patterns. Of equal importance, this study demonstrates the sensitivities of this regional trend map to current knowledge and uncertainty of the contributing processes.


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Data Availability

Article states: "The satellite altimetry data are publicly available through the Archiving, Validation and Interpretation of Satellite Oceanographic (AVISO) website ( The tide gauge data is available from the Permament Service for Mean Sea Level (PSMSL;"

Original Publication Citation

Hamlington, B. D., Burgos, A., Thompson, P. R., Landerer, F. W., Piecuch, C. G., Adhikari, S., . . . Ivins, E. R. (2018). Observation-driven estimation of the spatial variability of 20th century sea level rise. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 123(3), 2129-2140. doi:10.1002/2017JC013486


0000-0002-2315-6425 (Hamlington)