University Of Tasmania
124834 - Sea-level trend uncertainty with Pacific climatic variability and temporally-correlated noise.pdf (9.37 MB)
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Sea-level trend uncertainty with Pacific climatic variability and temporally-correlated noise

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-19, 16:43 authored by Royston, S, Christopher WatsonChristopher Watson, Legresy, B, Matt KingMatt King, Church, JA, Bos, MS
Recent studies have identified climatic drivers of the east-west see-saw of Pacific Ocean satellite altimetry era sea level trends and a number of sea-level trend and acceleration assessments attempt to account for this. We investigate the effect of Pacific climate variability, together with temporally-correlated noise, on linear trend error estimates and determine new time-of-emergence (ToE) estimates across the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Sea-level trend studies often advocate the use of auto-regressive (AR) noise models to adequately assess formal uncertainties, yet sea level often exhibits colored but non-AR(1) noise. Standard error estimates are over- or under-estimated by an AR(1) model for much of the Indo-Pacific sea level. Allowing for PDO and ENSO variability in the trend estimate only reduces standard errors across the tropics and we find noise characteristics are largely unaffected. Of importance for trend and acceleration detection studies, formal error estimates remain on average up to 1.6 times those from an AR(1) model for longduration tide gauge data. There is an even chance that the observed trend from the satellite altimetry era exceeds the noise in patches of the tropical Pacific and Indian Oceans and the south-west and north-east Pacific gyres. By including climate indices in the trend analysis, the time it takes for the observed linear sealevel trend to emerge from the noise reduces by up to 2 decades.


Australian Research Council


Publication title

Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans








School of Geography, Planning and Spatial Sciences


Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Place of publication

United States

Rights statement

Copyright 2018 American Geophysical Union

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Expanding knowledge in the earth sciences