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The Sea Level Response to External Forcings.pdf (5.09 MB)

The sea level response to external forcings in historical simulations of CMIP5 climate models

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-19, 07:57 authored by Slangen, ABA, Church, JA, Zhang, Xuebin, Monselesan, DP
Changes in Earth's climate are influenced by internal climate variability and external forcings, such as changes in solar radiation, volcanic eruptions, anthropogenic greenhouse gases (GHG), and aerosols. Although the response of surface temperature to external forcings has been studied extensively, this has not been done for sea level. Here, a range of climate model experiments for the twentieth century is used to study the response of global and regional sea level change to external climate forcings. Both the global mean thermosteric sea level and the regional dynamic sea level patterns show clear responses to anthropogenic forcings that are significantly different from internal climate variability and larger than the difference between models driven by the same external forcing. The regional sea level patterns are directly related to changes in surface winds in response to the external forcings. The spread between different realizations of the same model experiment is consistent with internal climate variability derived from preindustrial control simulations. The spread between the different models is larger than the internal variability, mainly in regions with large sea level responses. Although the sea level responses toGHGand anthropogenic aerosol forcing oppose each other in the global mean, there are differences on a regional scale, offering opportunities for distinguishing between these two forcings in observed sea level change.


Publication title

Journal of Climate










Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies


American Meteorological Society

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Climate change models

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