Geophysical Research Letters

Mass-induced sea level change in the northwestern North Pacific and its contribution to total sea level change



[1] Over the period 2003–2011, the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellite pair revealed a remarkable variability in mass-induced sea surface height (MSSH) in the northwestern North Pacific. A significant correlation is found between MSSH and observed total sea surface height (SSH), indicative of the importance of barotropic variability in this region. For the period 2003–2011, MSSH rose at a rate of 6.1 ± 0.7 mm/yr, which has a significant contribution to the SSH rise (8.3 ± 0.7 mm/yr). Analysis of the barotropic vorticity equation based on National Centers for Environmental Prediction/National Center for Atmospheric Research reanalysis product, GRACE, and altimetry data suggests that the MSSH signal is primarily caused by negative wind stress curl associated with an anomalous anticyclonic atmospheric circulation. Regression analysis indicates that trends in MSSH and surface wind are related to the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, whose index had a decreasing trend in the last decade.