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Mean sea-level variability along the northeast American Atlantic coast and the roles of the wind and the overturning circulation

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Miguel Morales Maqueda



This is the final published version of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by American Geophysical Union, 2014.

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The variability in mean sea level (MSL) during 1950–2009 along the northeast American Atlantic coast north of Cape Hatteras has been studied, using data from tide gauges and satellite altimetry and information from the Liverpool/Hadley Centre (LHC) ocean model, thereby providing new insights into the spatial and temporal scales of the variability. Although a relationship between sea level and the overturning circulation can be identified (an increase of approximately 1.5 cm in MSL for a decrease of 1 Sv in overturning transport), it is the effect of the nearshore wind forcing on the shelf that is found to dominate the interannual sea-level variability. In particular, winds are found to be capable of producing low-frequency changes in MSL (“accelerations”) in a narrow coastal band, comparable to those observed by the tide gauges. Evidence is presented supporting the idea of a “'common mode” of spatially coherent low-frequency MSL variability, both to the north and south of Cape Hatteras and throughout the northwest Atlantic, which is associated with large spatial-scale density changes from year to year.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Woodworth PL, Morales Maqueda MA, Roussenov VM, Williams RG, Hughes CW

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans

Year: 2014

Volume: 119

Issue: 12

Pages: 8916-8935

Print publication date: 29/12/2014

Online publication date: 24/11/2014

Acceptance date: 19/11/2014

Date deposited: 07/03/2017

ISSN (print): 2169-9275

ISSN (electronic): 2169-9291

Publisher: American Geophysical Union


DOI: 10.1002/2014JC010520


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