Geophysical Research Letters

Interannual sea level variability in the western North Atlantic: Regional forcing and remote response

Authors

  • M. Andres,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Physical Oceanography, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massachusetts, USA
    • Corresponding author: M. Andres, Department of Physical Oceanography, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 266 Woods Hole Rd., MS 21, Woods Hole, MA 02543, USA. (mandres@whoi.edu)

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  • G. G. Gawarkiewicz,

    1. Department of Physical Oceanography, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massachusetts, USA
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  • J. M. Toole

    1. Department of Physical Oceanography, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massachusetts, USA
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Abstract

[1] Annually averaged sea level (1970–2012) measured by tide gauges along the North American east coast is remarkably coherent over a 1700 km swath from Nova Scotia to North Carolina. Satellite altimetry (1993–2011) shows that this coherent interannual variability extends over the Middle Atlantic Bight, Gulf of Maine, and Scotian Shelf to the shelf break where there is a local minimum in sea level variance. Comparison with National Center for Environmental Prediction reanalysis winds suggests that a significant fraction of the detrended sea level variance is forced by the region's along-shelf wind stress. While interannual changes in sea level appear to be forced locally, altimetry suggests that the changes observed along the coast and over the shelf may influence the Gulf Stream path downstream of Cape Hatteras.

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