Abstract's details

Meridional Asymmetry in Recent Decadal Sea-Level Trends in the Subtropical Pacific Ocean

Philip Thompson (University of Hawaii, United States)


Fabian Schloesser (University of Hawaii, United States); Chris Piecuch (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, United States)

Event: 2022 Ocean Surface Topography Science Team Meeting

Session: Science I: Climate data records for understanding the causes of global and regional sea level variability and change

Presentation type: Type Poster

Contribution: not provided


Recent sea surface height (SSH) trends in the South Pacific are substantially greater than trends in the North Pacific. Here, we use the Estimating the Climate and Circulation of the Ocean Version 4 Release 4 ocean state estimate and the Ocean Reanalysis System 5 to identify the forcing and mechanisms underlying that meridional asymmetry during 2005–2015. Thermosteric contributions dominate the spatial structure in Pacific SSH trends, but contributions from local surface heat fluxes are small. Wind stress trends drive a spin-up of the South Pacific subtropical gyre and a northward shift of the North Pacific subtropical gyre. A reduced gravity model forced with reanalysis winds qualitatively reproduces the meridional seesaw in sea level, suggesting that asymmetric trends in subtropical wind stress drive a cross-equatorial heat transport. A reversal in forcing associated with this process could impact near-term rates of coastal sea-level change, particularly in Pacific Island communities.

Poster show times:

Room Start Date End Date
Mezzanine Tue, Nov 01 2022,17:15 Tue, Nov 01 2022,18:15
Mezzanine Thu, Nov 03 2022,14:00 Thu, Nov 03 2022,15:45
Philip Thompson
University of Hawaii
United States