Atmospheric correction of satellite altimetry observations and sea-level variability in the NE Atlantic
Satellite altimetry provides continuous and spatially regular measurements of the height of the sea surface. Sea level responds to density changes of the water, to mass changes, due to addition or reduction of water mass, and to changes in the atmosphere above it. The present study examines the influence of atmospheric effects on sea-level variability in the North-East Atlantic. The association between the height of the sea surface and the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) is investigated by considering different sets of altimetry measurements for which the atmospheric effects have been handled differently. Altimetry data not corrected for atmospheric effects are strongly anti-correlated with the state of the NAO, reflecting the hydrostatic response of sea-level to the NAO pressure dipole. The application of an atmospheric correction to satellite altimetry observations in the NE Atlantic decreases variability of the height time series by more than 70\% and reduces the amplitude of the seasonal cycle by \~5 cm. Altimetry data for which atmospheric effects are removed via an inverse barometer correction show a non-negligible correlation with the NAO index at some locations suggesting further indirect non-hydrostatic influences of the state of the NAO on sea level variability.
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Advances in Space Research
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