Is there a 60-year oscillation in global mean sea level?

Edited: 2012-10-02
TitleIs there a 60-year oscillation in global mean sea level?
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsChambers, D., M. Merrifield, and R. S. Nerem
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Date Published09/2012
Keywordsclimate, pdo, sea_level
AbstractWe examine long tide gauge records in every ocean basin to examine whether a quasi 60-year oscillation observed in global mean sea level (GMSL) reconstructions reflects a true global oscillation, or an artifact associated with a small number of gauges. We find that there is a significant oscillation with a period around 60-years in the majority of the tide gauges examined during the 20th Century, and that it appears in every ocean basin. Averaging of tide gauges over regions shows that the phase and amplitude of the fluctuations are similar in the North Atlantic, western North Pacific, and Indian Oceans, while the signal is shifted by 10 years in the western South Pacific. The only sampled region with no apparent 60-year fluctuation is the Central/Eastern North Pacific. The phase of the 60-year oscillation found in the tide gauge records is such that sea level in the North Atlantic, western North Pacific, Indian Ocean, and western South Pacific has been increasing since 1985-1990. Although the tide gauge data are still too limited, both in time and space, to determine conclusively that there is a 60-year oscillation in GMSL, the possibility should be considered when attempting to interpret the acceleration in the rate of global and regional mean sea level rise.
Short TitleGeophys. Res. Lett.