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Comparison of Mediterranean sea level fields for the period 1961–2000 as given by a data reconstruction and a 3D model

Comparison of Mediterranean sea level fields for the period 1961–2000 as given by a data reconstruction and a 3D model
Comparison of Mediterranean sea level fields for the period 1961–2000 as given by a data reconstruction and a 3D model
Two Mediterranean sea level distributions spanning the last decades are examined. The first one is a reconstruction of sea level obtained by a reduced-space optimal interpolation applied to tide gauge and altimetry data. The second distribution is obtained from a 3D (baroclinic) regional circulation model. None of the two representations includes the mechanical atmospheric forcing. Results are presented for two different periods: 1993–2000 (for which altimetry data are available) and 1961–2000 (the longest period common to both distributions).

The first period is examined as a test period for the model, since the reconstruction is very similar to altimetry observations. The modelled sea level is in fair agreement with the reconstruction in the Western Mediterranean and in the Aegean Sea (except in the early nineties), but in the Ionian Sea the model departs from observations. For the whole period 1961–2000 the main feature is a marked positive trend in the Ionian Sea (up to 1.8 mm yr? 1), observed both in the reconstruction and in the model. Also the distribution of positive trends in the Western Mediterranean (mean value of 1.1 mm yr? 1) and the smaller trends in the Aegean Sea (0.5 mm yr? 1) are similar in the reconstruction and in the model, despite the first implicitly accounts for sea level variations due to remote sources such as ice melting and the second does not. The interannual sea level variability associated with key regional events such as the Eastern Mediterranean Transient is apparently captured by the reconstruction but not by the model (at least in its present configuration). Hence, the reconstruction can be envisaged as a useful tool to validate further long-term numerical simulations in the region.
sea level, Mediterranean Sea, baroclinic model, reconstruction, altimetry, tide gauges, Eastern Mediterranean Transient
0921-8181
175-184
Calafat, F.M.
7c43d62a-c376-446c-93b4-87d4c1bd9d05
Gomis, D.
ef896bf2-de1e-48b2-8faa-c66f3f439f3c
Marcos, M.
3cd7a6cd-def3-47a9-a7c4-7ef305fc0bf1
Calafat, F.M.
7c43d62a-c376-446c-93b4-87d4c1bd9d05
Gomis, D.
ef896bf2-de1e-48b2-8faa-c66f3f439f3c
Marcos, M.
3cd7a6cd-def3-47a9-a7c4-7ef305fc0bf1

Calafat, F.M., Gomis, D. and Marcos, M. (2009) Comparison of Mediterranean sea level fields for the period 1961–2000 as given by a data reconstruction and a 3D model. Global and Planetary Change, 68 (3), 175-184. (doi:10.1016/j.gloplacha.2009.04.003).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Two Mediterranean sea level distributions spanning the last decades are examined. The first one is a reconstruction of sea level obtained by a reduced-space optimal interpolation applied to tide gauge and altimetry data. The second distribution is obtained from a 3D (baroclinic) regional circulation model. None of the two representations includes the mechanical atmospheric forcing. Results are presented for two different periods: 1993–2000 (for which altimetry data are available) and 1961–2000 (the longest period common to both distributions).

The first period is examined as a test period for the model, since the reconstruction is very similar to altimetry observations. The modelled sea level is in fair agreement with the reconstruction in the Western Mediterranean and in the Aegean Sea (except in the early nineties), but in the Ionian Sea the model departs from observations. For the whole period 1961–2000 the main feature is a marked positive trend in the Ionian Sea (up to 1.8 mm yr? 1), observed both in the reconstruction and in the model. Also the distribution of positive trends in the Western Mediterranean (mean value of 1.1 mm yr? 1) and the smaller trends in the Aegean Sea (0.5 mm yr? 1) are similar in the reconstruction and in the model, despite the first implicitly accounts for sea level variations due to remote sources such as ice melting and the second does not. The interannual sea level variability associated with key regional events such as the Eastern Mediterranean Transient is apparently captured by the reconstruction but not by the model (at least in its present configuration). Hence, the reconstruction can be envisaged as a useful tool to validate further long-term numerical simulations in the region.

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More information

Published date: August 2009
Keywords: sea level, Mediterranean Sea, baroclinic model, reconstruction, altimetry, tide gauges, Eastern Mediterranean Transient
Organisations: Physical Oceanography

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 366329
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/366329
ISSN: 0921-8181
PURE UUID: 6eea7e3d-1edd-47be-9ab8-66b7d03c36ae

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Date deposited: 24 Jun 2014 14:31
Last modified: 16 Jul 2019 21:02

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