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Changing seasonality in North Atlantic coastal sea level from the analysis of long tide gauge records


*Corresponding author.


Sea level is a key variable in the context of global climate change. Climate-induced variability is expected to affect not only the mean sea level but also the amplitude and phase of its seasonal cycle. This study addresses the changes in the amplitude and phase of the annual cycle of coastal sea level in the extra-tropical North Atlantic. The physical causes of these variations are explored by analysing the association between fluctuations in the annual amplitude of sea level and in ancillary parameters [atmospheric pressure, sea-surface temperature and North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) winter index]. The annual cycle is extracted through autoregressive decomposition, in order to be able to separate variations in seasonality from long-term interannual variations in the mean. The changes detected in the annual sea level cycle are regionally coherent, and related to changes in the analysed forcing parameters. At the northern sites, fluctuations in the annual amplitude of sea level are associated with concurrent changes in temperature, while atmospheric pressure is the dominant influence for most of the sites on the western boundary. The state of the NAO influences the annual variability in the Southern Bight, possibly through NAO-related changes in wind stress and ocean circulation.