Nonlinear trends and multiyear cycles in sea level records
Article first published online: 12 SEP 2006
Copyright 2006 by the American Geophysical Union.
Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans (1978–2012)
Volume 111, Issue C9, September 2006
How to Cite
2006), Nonlinear trends and multiyear cycles in sea level records, J. Geophys. Res., 111, C09012, doi:10.1029/2005JC003229., , , and (
- Issue published online: 12 SEP 2006
- Article first published online: 12 SEP 2006
- Manuscript Accepted: 12 JUN 2006
- Manuscript Revised: 19 MAY 2006
- Manuscript Received: 16 AUG 2005
- sea level rise;
- sea level variability;
 We analyze the Permanent Service for Mean Sea Level (PSMSL) database of sea level time series using a method based on Monte Carlo Singular Spectrum Analysis (MC-SSA). We remove 2–30 year quasi-periodic oscillations and determine the nonlinear long-term trends for 12 large ocean regions. Our global sea level trend estimate of 2.4 ± 1.0 mm/yr for the period from 1993 to 2000 is comparable with the 2.6 ± 0.7 mm/yr sea level rise calculated from TOPEX/Poseidon altimeter measurements. However, we show that over the last 100 years the rate of 2.5 ± 1.0 mm/yr occurred between 1920 and 1945, is likely to be as large as the 1990s, and resulted in a mean sea level rise of 48 mm. We evaluate errors in sea level using two independent approaches, the robust bi-weight mean and variance, and a novel “virtual station” approach that utilizes geographic locations of stations. Results suggest that a region cannot be adequately represented by a simple mean curve with standard error, assuming all stations are independent, as multiyear cycles within regions are very significant. Additionally, much of the between-region mismatch errors are due to multiyear cycles in the global sea level that limit the ability of simple means to capture sea level accurately. We demonstrate that variability in sea level records over periods 2–30 years has increased during the past 50 years in most ocean basins.