Meridional asymmetry in rates of sea level change from altimetry

Philip Thompson (University of Hawaii, United States)


Mark Merrifield (University of Hawaii, USA)

Event: 2014 Ocean Surface Topography Science Team Meeting

Session: Science Results from Satellite Altimetry: Regional and basin-scale processes and sea level rise

Presentation type: Type Poster

The spatial pattern of twenty-year sea level trends from satellite altimetry is placed into the context of 20th century modes of wind-driven ocean volume redistribution from tide gauge data. We find that the difference between recent rates of sea level change in northern and southern regions is twice as large and statistically greater than any other twenty-year period during the 20th century. This unique asymmetry in the pattern of sea level change coincides with subsurface warming in the Indian and South Pacific basins and a breakdown in a historical mode of volume redistribution related to zonal asymmetry in the Southern Annular Mode (ASAM). This paper explores the dynamics of the historical mode of redistribution related to ASAM and the source of the subsurface warming that results in meridional asymmetry in rates of sea level change from altimetry.
Philip Thompson
University of Hawaii
United States