Figure 2

Figure 2: Sea level distribution along a north-south section at 160°E. Shown are the differences between two consecutive years, 1995 and 1996. The blue line indicates measurements by TOPEX/POSEIDON, while black is the corresponding model value. The model is capable of reproducing the change in sea level almost everywhere. A deviation is noticeable only north of 45°N. Analysis of the model reveals that the change from 1995 to 1996 can best be explained by a change in water level due to thermal expansion (red curve) and to changes in salinity (green curve). Note that temperature and salinity effects are in general anticorrelated.