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Interannual variability of mean sea level and its sensitivity to wind climate in an inter-tidal basin
Gerkema, T.; Duran-Matute, M. (2017). Interannual variability of mean sea level and its sensitivity to wind climate in an inter-tidal basin. Earth System Dynamics 8(4): 1223-1235. https://dx.doi.org/10.5194/esd-8-1223-2017
In: Earth System Dynamics. Copernicus: Göttingen. ISSN 2190-4979; e-ISSN 2190-4987, meer
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Gerkema, T., meer
  • Duran-Matute, M., meer

Abstract
    The relationship between the annual wind records from a weather station and annual mean sea level inan inter-tidal basin, the Dutch Wadden Sea, is examined. Recent, homogeneous wind records are used, coveringthe past 2 decades. It is demonstrated that even such a relatively short record is sufficient for finding a convincingrelationship. The interannual variability of mean sea level is largely explained by the west–east component of thenet wind energy, with some further improvement if one also includes the south–north component and the annualmean atmospheric pressure. Using measured data from a weather station is found to give a slight improvementover reanalysis data, but for both the correlation between annual mean sea level and wind energy in the west–east direction is high. For different tide gauge stations in the Dutch Wadden Sea and along the coast, we find thesame qualitative characteristics, but even within this small region, different locations show a different sensitivityof annual mean sea level to wind direction. Correcting observed values of annual mean level for meteorologicalfactors reduces the margin of error (expressed as 95% confidence interval) by more than a factor of 4 in thetrends of the 20-year sea level record. Supplementary data from a numerical hydrodynamical model are usedto illustrate the regional variability in annual mean sea level and its interannual variability at a high spatialresolution. This study implies that climatic changes in the strength of winds from a specific direction may affectlocal annual mean sea level quite significantly.

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