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Recent sea level change in the Mediterranean Sea revealed by Topex/Poseidon satellite altimetry

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Abstract

Using altimetry data of the Topex/Poseidon satellite available since early 1993, we show that the eastern Mediterranean sea level has been continuously rising during 1993–1999, at a rate up to 20 mm/yr southeast of Crete. Sea level rise is also observed in the Algerian-Provencal basin as well as in the Tyrrhenian and Adriatic seas. The north Ionian sea, on the other hand, shows an opposite trend, i.e., a sea level drop during the past seven years. Sea surface temperature trends are strongly correlated to sea level trends, indicating that at least part of the observed sea level change has a thermal origin. The recent Mediterranean sea level rise observed by Topex/Poseidon may be related to the warming trends reported from hydrographic cruises in the intermediate and deep waters of the eastern basin since the early 1990s, and of the western basin since the 1960s.

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