The Rate of Sea-Level Rise
A new study paper out in nature¬†(Nature Climate Change¬†/ ¬†/ doi:10.1038/nclimate2159), explores why the rise of sea-level has slowed in the last decade. Unsurprisingly the slow-down coincidences with the observed climate hiatus (IPCC AR5,¬†Ocean heat content¬†uptake). Because ¬†heat is distributed differently, depending on the state of ENSO (between El Nino or La Nina).
Abstract:¬†Present-day sea-level rise is a major indicator of climate change1. Since the early 1990s, sea level rose at a mean rate of¬†~3.1 mm yr‚ąí1¬†(refs¬†2,¬†3). However, over the last decade a slowdown of this rate, of about 30%, has been recorded4,¬†5,¬†6,¬†7,¬†8. It coincides with a plateau in Earth‚Äôs mean surface temperature evolution, known as the recent pause in warming1,¬†9,¬†10,¬†11,¬†12. Here we present an analysis based on sea-level data from the altimetry record of the past¬†~20 years that separates interannual natural variability in sea level from the longer-term change probably related to anthropogenic global warming. The most prominent signature in the global mean sea level interannual variability is caused by El Ni√Īo‚ÄďSouthern Oscillation, through its impact on the global water cycle13,¬†14,¬†15,¬†16. We find that when correcting for interannual variability, the past decade‚Äôs slowdown of the global mean sea level disappears, leading to a similar rate of sea-level rise (of 3.3¬†¬Ī¬†0.4 mm yr‚ąí1) during the first and second decade of the altimetry era. Our results confirm the need for quantifying and further removing from the climate records the short-term natural climate variability if one wants to extract the global warming signal10.
However, last year a study hinted at significant future sea-level rise – In Ancient Ice, Clues That Scientists Are Underestimating Future Sea Levels
RealClimate:¬†It Never Rains but it Pause
RealClimate:¬†Global Temperature 2013
Slower sea level rise linked to El Nino and natural weather patterns
Cutting Short-lived Pollutants Can Slow Sea Level Rise
Australia‚Äôs Flooding Rains Briefly Slowed Sea Level Rise
Teaser image via¬†Ocean Defender