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Calafat, F. M., & Chambers, D. P. (2013). Inter-annual to decadal sea level variability in the coastal zones of the Norwegian and Siberian Seas: the role of atmospheric forcing. J. Geophys. Res., in press.
Abstract: Inter-annual to decadal sea level variations from tide gauge records in the coastal zones of the Norwegian and Siberian Seas are examined for the period 1950-2010 using a combination of hydrographic observations, wind data, and theory. We identify two large areas of highly coherent sea level variability: one that includes the Norwegian, Barents, and Kara Seas, and another one that includes the Laptev, East Siberian, and Chukchi Seas. We provide evidence of a new contribution to the sea level variability along the Norwegian coast associated with the poleward propagation of sea level fluctuations along the eastern boundary of the North Atlantic. When this propagating signal is combined with the local wind we are able to explain over 70% of the variance along the Norwegian coast. The steric component explains ~61% of the sea level (corrected for the inverse barometer) variability along the Norwegian coast. The high coherency between the sea level along the Norwegian coast and that in the Barents and Kara Seas suggests that part of the Norwegian signal propagates further north into these regions. We introduce an atmospheric vorcity index that explains much of the sea level variability in the Laptev, East Siberian, and Chukchi Seas with correlations ranging from 0.73 to 0.81. In the East Siberian Sea, we identify a sea level increase of ~22 cm between 2000 and 2003, which is partly explained by the vorticity index, and a decline of ~15 cm after 2003, which we relate to the strengthening of the Beaufort Gyre.