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Improved sea level record over the satellite altimetry era (1993–2010) from the Climate Change Initiative project

Improved sea level record over the satellite altimetry era (1993–2010) from the Climate Change Initiative project
Improved sea level record over the satellite altimetry era (1993–2010) from the Climate Change Initiative project
Sea level is one of the 50 Essential Climate Variables (ECVs) listed by the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) in climate change monitoring. In the past two decades, sea level has been routinely measured from space using satellite altimetry techniques. In order to address a number of important scientific questions such as "Is sea level rise accelerating?", "Can we close the sea level budget?", "What are the causes of the regional and interannual variability?", "Can we already detect the anthropogenic forcing signature and separate it from the internal/natural climate variability?", and "What are the coastal impacts of sea level rise?", the accuracy of altimetry-based sea level records at global and regional scales needs to be significantly improved. For example, the global mean and regional sea level trend uncertainty should become better than 0.3 and 0.5 mm year?1, respectively (currently 0.6 and 1–2 mm year?1). Similarly, interannual global mean sea level variations (currently uncertain to 2–3 mm) need to be monitored with better accuracy. In this paper, we present various data improvements achieved within the European Space Agency (ESA) Climate Change Initiative (ESA CCI) project on "Sea Level" during its first phase (2010–2013), using multi-mission satellite altimetry data over the 1993–2010 time span. In a first step, using a new processing system with dedicated algorithms and adapted data processing strategies, an improved set of sea level products has been produced. The main improvements include: reduction of orbit errors and wet/dry atmospheric correction errors, reduction of instrumental drifts and bias, intercalibration biases, intercalibration between missions and combination of the different sea level data sets, and an improvement of the reference mean sea surface. We also present preliminary independent validations of the SL_cci products, based on tide gauges comparison and a sea level budget closure approach, as well as comparisons with ocean reanalyses and climate model outputs.
1812-0792
67-82
Ablain, M.
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Cazenave, A.
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Larnicol, G.
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Balmaseda, M.
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Cipollini, P.
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Faugère, Y.
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Fernandes, M.J.
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Henry, O.
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Johannessen, J.A.
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Knudsen, P.
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Andersen, O.
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Legeais, J.
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Meyssignac, B.
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Picot, N.
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Roca, M.
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Rudenko, S.
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Scharffenberg, M.G.
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Stammer, D.
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Timms, G.
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Benveniste, J.
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Ablain, M.
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Cazenave, A.
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Larnicol, G.
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Balmaseda, M.
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Cipollini, P.
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Faugère, Y.
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Fernandes, M.J.
c053df4e-d25c-4143-b819-403cbc311533
Henry, O.
31322725-30c1-43a3-abd8-419176973128
Johannessen, J.A.
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Knudsen, P.
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Andersen, O.
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Legeais, J.
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Meyssignac, B.
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Picot, N.
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Roca, M.
488c048e-19fc-44b0-9721-2bf759ffe564
Rudenko, S.
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Scharffenberg, M.G.
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Stammer, D.
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Timms, G.
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Benveniste, J.
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Ablain, M., Cazenave, A., Larnicol, G., Balmaseda, M., Cipollini, P., Faugère, Y., Fernandes, M.J., Henry, O., Johannessen, J.A., Knudsen, P., Andersen, O., Legeais, J., Meyssignac, B., Picot, N., Roca, M., Rudenko, S., Scharffenberg, M.G., Stammer, D., Timms, G. and Benveniste, J. (2015) Improved sea level record over the satellite altimetry era (1993–2010) from the Climate Change Initiative project. Ocean Science, 11 (1), 67-82. (doi:10.5194/os-11-67-2015).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Sea level is one of the 50 Essential Climate Variables (ECVs) listed by the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) in climate change monitoring. In the past two decades, sea level has been routinely measured from space using satellite altimetry techniques. In order to address a number of important scientific questions such as "Is sea level rise accelerating?", "Can we close the sea level budget?", "What are the causes of the regional and interannual variability?", "Can we already detect the anthropogenic forcing signature and separate it from the internal/natural climate variability?", and "What are the coastal impacts of sea level rise?", the accuracy of altimetry-based sea level records at global and regional scales needs to be significantly improved. For example, the global mean and regional sea level trend uncertainty should become better than 0.3 and 0.5 mm year?1, respectively (currently 0.6 and 1–2 mm year?1). Similarly, interannual global mean sea level variations (currently uncertain to 2–3 mm) need to be monitored with better accuracy. In this paper, we present various data improvements achieved within the European Space Agency (ESA) Climate Change Initiative (ESA CCI) project on "Sea Level" during its first phase (2010–2013), using multi-mission satellite altimetry data over the 1993–2010 time span. In a first step, using a new processing system with dedicated algorithms and adapted data processing strategies, an improved set of sea level products has been produced. The main improvements include: reduction of orbit errors and wet/dry atmospheric correction errors, reduction of instrumental drifts and bias, intercalibration biases, intercalibration between missions and combination of the different sea level data sets, and an improvement of the reference mean sea surface. We also present preliminary independent validations of the SL_cci products, based on tide gauges comparison and a sea level budget closure approach, as well as comparisons with ocean reanalyses and climate model outputs.

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Published date: 13 January 2015
Organisations: Marine Physics and Ocean Climate

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Local EPrints ID: 374002
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/374002
ISSN: 1812-0792
PURE UUID: 3f1e8dd2-0e19-4975-9437-8776ca464fa8

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Date deposited: 02 Feb 2015 09:40
Last modified: 14 Aug 2019 18:39

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Contributors

Author: M. Ablain
Author: A. Cazenave
Author: G. Larnicol
Author: M. Balmaseda
Author: P. Cipollini
Author: Y. Faugère
Author: M.J. Fernandes
Author: O. Henry
Author: J.A. Johannessen
Author: P. Knudsen
Author: O. Andersen
Author: J. Legeais
Author: B. Meyssignac
Author: N. Picot
Author: M. Roca
Author: S. Rudenko
Author: M.G. Scharffenberg
Author: D. Stammer
Author: G. Timms
Author: J. Benveniste

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