Contributions to sea level variability along the Norwegian coast for 1960–2010

Edited: 2012-08-07
TitleContributions to sea level variability along the Norwegian coast for 1960–2010
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsRichter, K., J. Nilsen, and H. Drange
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research
Date Published05/2012
Keywordsclimate, coastal, gia, sea_level, tide_gauge
AbstractGlobal sea level has been rising by about 20 cm during the last century and is expected to continue to rise in the 21st century. The rise and variability is not spatially uniform. To be able to project local changes in relative sea level (RSL), it is important to identify the processes that govern regional RSL variability. In this study, we assess the importance of different contributions to RSL variability along the coast of Norway in the period 1960–2010. By using hydrographic station data at the coast, sea level pressure, and observed vertical land uplift, we compute RSL changes due to thermal expansion, haline contraction, the inverted barometer effect, and land uplift caused by glacial isostatic adjustment. The combination of these contributions is compared to RSL variability observed with tide gauges. For all but the two southernmost stations, the reconstructed RSL explains 70–85% of the observed variability of the monthly sampled time series. The inverted barometer effect is responsible for more than half of the explained variability, while thermosteric height represents the largest contribution to the linear trend. Due to land uplift, the local RSL rise is weaker and partly negative along the Norwegian coast. The residual (observed minus reconstructed) shows a positive trend ranging from 1.3 mm yr−1 to 2.3 mm yr−1. It is speculated that the reason for this is an increase of mass in the ocean due to melting of land-based ice and, to a lesser degree, the combined thermohaline expansion in the deep Nordic seas.
Short TitleJ. Geophys. Res.