Decadal sea level variability in the Australasian Mediterranean Sea.

Wagner, Patrick and Böning, Claus W. (2021) Decadal sea level variability in the Australasian Mediterranean Sea. Open Access Ocean Science, 17 . pp. 1473-1487. DOI 10.5194/os-2021-63.

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Strong regional sea-level trends, mainly related to basin-wide wind stress anomalies, have been observed in the western tropical Pacific over the last 3 decades. Analyses of regional sea level in the densely populated regions of the neighbouring Australasian Mediterranean Sea (AMS; also called tropical Asian seas) are hindered by its complex topography and respective studies are sparse. We used a series of global eddy-permitting ocean models, including a high-resolution configuration that resolves the AMS with 120∘ horizontal resolution, forced by a comprehensive atmospheric forcing product over 1958–2016 to characterize the patterns and magnitude of decadal sea-level variability in the AMS. The nature of this variability is elucidated further by sensitivity experiments with interannual variability restricted to either the momentum or buoyancy fluxes, building on an experiment employing a repeated-year forcing without interannual variability in all forcing components. Our results suggest that decadal fluctuations of the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) account for over 80 % of the variability in all deep basins of the region, except for the central South China Sea (SCS). Changes related to the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) are most pronounced in the shallow Arafura and Timor seas and in the central SCS. On average, buoyancy fluxes account for less than 10 % of decadal SSH variability, but this ratio is highly variable over time and can reach values of up to 50 %. In particular, our results suggest that buoyancy flux forcing amplifies the dominant wind-stress-driven anomalies related to ENSO cycles. Intrinsic variability is mostly negligible except in the SCS, where it accounts for 25 % of the total decadal SSH variability.

Document Type: Article
Funder compliance: DFG: BO907/5-1
Keywords: sea level variability; Australasian Mediterranean Sea
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB1 Ocean Circulation and Climate Dynamics > FB1-OD Ocean Dynamics
Corresponding Author:
Corresponding Author Name
Wagner, Patrick
Wagner, Patrick
FB1-OD Ocean Dynamics
Main POF Topic: PT2: Ocean and Cryosphere
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: Yes
Publisher: Copernicus Publications (EGU)
Related URLs:
Projects: SPP 1889, Opendap
Date Deposited: 07 Jul 2021 07:36
Last Modified: 08 Feb 2023 09:32

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