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Ocean Surface Topography from Space
SEa Level Variability due to Melt water Fingerprints and in Regional, COstal and In-LAnd Regimes FICOSELA


Luciana Fenoglio-Marc - (Technische Universität Darmstadt)

  Matthias Becker
Jürgen Kusche
Emil Stanev
Sebastian Grayek
(Technische Universität Darmstadt)
(Bonn University)
(Universität Oldenburg)
(Universität Oldenburg)


SEa Level Variability due to Melt water Fingerprints and in Regional, COstal and In-LAnd Regimes FICOSELA
Sea Level Rise (SLR) from satellite altimetry in 1993-2011 and corresponding Relative Sea Level Rise (RSLR) from tide gauge stations (triangle) in the Indonesia-Thailand region
Observed sea level change is the sum of mass addition from ice caps and glaciers, exchange with land water storage, and steric variations. The objective of this proposal is to understand and quantify global and regional sea level and the factors contributing to it from joint analysis of time-variable gravity models, the TP/Jason altimetry data sets, and oceanographic and hydrological models.

Through combination of sea level and mass change observations and model simulations an under- standing of mass transport and mass distribution shall be achieved at regional and global scales. The construction of a regional harmonized multi-mission altimeter dataset is a key point for both high reso- lution sea level change analysis and assimilation of altimeter data in the regional ocean models. Envi- ronmental corrections for altimetry and GRACE data are assessed and homogenized for the compari- son of gravimetric and altimetric signals.

New with respect to the previous project within OSTST (STREMP-OSTST "Spatial and Temporal Resolution Limits for RegionalMassTransport and Mass Distribution" NRA ROSES-2007 NNH07ZDA001N CNES DSP/OT7-4571) are (1) the extension of the analysis on land using both altimetry and GRACE data and (2) the "fingerprint" aproach.

In the analysis at regional scale, focus is on coastal processes and land-ocean exchange. High- resolution altimetric data (Jason-1, TOPEX/Poseidon, ERS1/2, Envisat, Geosat, GFO) and dedicated re-tracking improve the data availability near to coast and in lake and rivers.

Regionally a state of the art ocean general circulation model with a high spatial resolution and realistic forcing is applied to the Mediterranean-Black Sea region and run both with and without assimilation of altimeter data. It simulates steric and salinity contributions, flow and water mass characteristics and aims at an improved understanding of the basic physical controls.

Steric- and mass-induced sea level change at low and high frequency variation of the coastal sea sur- face topography are investigated. The investigation combines satellite gravity data and altimeter data and thus improves the understanding of the mean ocean circulation. The joint assessment of mass changes brings the various (gravimetric, altimetric, oceanographic and land-hydrologic) components together to derive the mass balance and the mass exchange for the whole area.

The project shall quantify the importance of using altimetry, GRACE and GOCE data to identify the contributors to sea level trends and variability. Fingerprints due to melt water in ocean and due to in land are considered in selected regional, costal and in-land regimes.

Anticipated results are :

  • improved modeling tools
  • improved estimates for global mean sea level (GMSL) and relative sea level (RSL) contributing processes
  • associated error estimates
  • regionalized estimates for sea level contributors (projected to tide gauges and coastlines)
  • separation and validation of regional steric- and mass-induced sea level change with identification of resolvable space and temporal scales
  • coupling and relationship between terrestrial fresh water fluxes, basin exchanges and sea level change
  • a consistent time-variable geoid field which can be used to correct altimetry.

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