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Earth System Dynamics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union

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https://doi.org/10.5194/esd-2017-32
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
25 Apr 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Earth System Dynamics (ESD).
Inter-annual variability of mean sea level and its sensitivity to wind climate in an inter-tidal basin
Theo Gerkema1 and Matias Duran-Matute2,1 1Department for Estuarine and Delta Systems, NIOZ Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, and Utrecht University, PO Box 140, 4400 AC Yerseke, The Netherlands
2Department of Applied Physics, Technical University Eindhoven, PO Box 513, 5600 MB Eindhoven, The Netherlands
Abstract. The relation between the annual wind records from a weather station and annual mean sea level in an inter-tidal basin, the Dutch Wadden Sea, is examined. Only more recent, homogeneous wind records are used, covering the past two decades. It is demonstrated that even such a relatively short record is sufficient to find a convincing relation. The inter-annual variability of mean sea level can already be largely explained by the west–east component of the net wind energy vector, with some further improvement if one also includes the south–north component and theannual mean atmospheric pressure. For different tide-gauge stations in the Dutch Wadden Sea and along the coast, we find the same qualitative characteristics, although the precise values of the correlations vary. Correcting observed values of annual mean level for meteorological factors reduces the margin of error (expressed as 95 %-confidence interval) by about a factor of three in the trends of the 20-year sea level record. Model results illustrate the regional variability in annual mean sea level and its inter-annual variability. The sensitivity on wind direction varies spatially even on a small scale like the Dutch Wadden Sea. This study also implies that climatic changes in the strength of winds from a specific direction may affect local annual mean sea level quite significantly.

Citation: Gerkema, T. and Duran-Matute, M.: Inter-annual variability of mean sea level and its sensitivity to wind climate in an inter-tidal basin, Earth Syst. Dynam. Discuss., https://doi.org/10.5194/esd-2017-32, in review, 2017.
Theo Gerkema and Matias Duran-Matute
Theo Gerkema and Matias Duran-Matute
Theo Gerkema and Matias Duran-Matute

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