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Volume 8, issue 4 | Copyright

Special issue: Multiple drivers for Earth system changes in the Baltic Sea...

Earth Syst. Dynam., 8, 1031-1046, 2017
https://doi.org/10.5194/esd-8-1031-2017
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 17 Nov 2017

Research article | 17 Nov 2017

Mechanisms of variability in decadal sea-level trends in the Baltic Sea over the 20th century

Sitar Karabil, Eduardo Zorita, and Birgit Hünicke Sitar Karabil et al.
  • Institute of Coastal Research, Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht, Max-Planck Str. 1, 21502 Geesthacht, Germany

Abstract. Coastal sea-level trends in the Baltic Sea display decadal-scale variations around a long-term centennial trend. In this study, we analyse the spatial and temporal characteristics of the decadal trend variations and investigate the links between coastal sea-level trends and atmospheric forcing on a decadal timescale. For this analysis, we use monthly means of sea-level and climatic data sets. The sea-level data set is composed of long tide gauge records and gridded sea surface height (SSH) reconstructions. Climatic data sets are composed of sea-level pressure, air temperature, precipitation, evaporation, and climatic variability indices. The analysis indicates that atmospheric forcing is a driving factor of decadal sea-level trends. However, its effect is geographically heterogeneous. This impact is large in the northern and eastern regions of the Baltic Sea. In the southern Baltic Sea area, the impacts of atmospheric circulation on decadal sea-level trends are smaller.

To identify the influence of the large-scale factors other than the effect of atmospheric circulation in the same season on Baltic Sea sea-level trends, we filter out the direct signature of atmospheric circulation for each season separately on the Baltic Sea level through a multivariate linear regression model and analyse the residuals of this regression model. These residuals hint at a common underlying factor that coherently drives the decadal sea-level trends in the whole Baltic Sea. We found that this underlying effect is partly a consequence of decadal precipitation trends in the Baltic Sea basin in the previous season.

The investigation of the relation between the AMO index and sea-level trends implies that this detected underlying factor is not connected to oceanic forcing driven from the North Atlantic region.

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We statistically analysed the mechanisms of the variability in decadal sea-level trends for the whole Baltic Sea basin over the last century. We used two different sea-level data sets and several climatic data sets. The results of this study showed that precipitation has a lagged effect on decadal sea-level trend variations from which the signature of atmospheric effect is removed. This detected underlying factor is not connected to oceanic forcing driven from the North Atlantic region.
We statistically analysed the mechanisms of the variability in decadal sea-level trends for the...
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