Is there a 60-year oscillation in global mean sea level?
Article first published online: 22 SEP 2012
©2012. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.
Geophysical Research Letters
Volume 39, Issue 18, September 2012
How to Cite
2012), Is there a 60-year oscillation in global mean sea level?, Geophys. Res. Lett., 39, L18607, doi:10.1029/2012GL052885., , and (
- Issue published online: 22 SEP 2012
- Article first published online: 22 SEP 2012
- Manuscript Revised: 17 AUG 2012
- Manuscript Accepted: 17 AUG 2012
- Manuscript Received: 25 JUN 2012
- global sea level;
- multidecadal oscillation;
- sea level acceleration;
- sea level rise
 We examine long tide gauge records in every ocean basin to examine whether a quasi 60-year oscillation observed in global mean sea level (GMSL) reconstructions reflects a true global oscillation, or an artifact associated with a small number of gauges. We find that there is a significant oscillation with a period around 60-years in the majority of the tide gauges examined during the 20th Century, and that it appears in every ocean basin. Averaging of tide gauges over regions shows that the phase and amplitude of the fluctuations are similar in the North Atlantic, western North Pacific, and Indian Oceans, while the signal is shifted by 10 years in the western South Pacific. The only sampled region with no apparent 60-year fluctuation is the Central/Eastern North Pacific. The phase of the 60-year oscillation found in the tide gauge records is such that sea level in the North Atlantic, western North Pacific, Indian Ocean, and western South Pacific has been increasing since 1985–1990. Although the tide gauge data are still too limited, both in time and space, to determine conclusively that there is a 60-year oscillation in GMSL, the possibility should be considered when attempting to interpret the acceleration in the rate of global and regional mean sea level rise.