Marine Science Faculty Publications

Diagnosis of Large-Scale, Low-Frequency Sea Level Variability in the Northeast Pacific Ocean

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Earlier studies in the Northeast Pacific (NEP) suggest that the local and remote sea level responses are important for the large-scale, low-frequency sea level variability, but the relative importance of the two processes remains unclear. In this study, we develop a novel sea level model driven by wind, buoyancy and eddy forcing to examine their relative roles in the NEP. Based on the new model, a diagnostic equation for sea level that is an alternative to the conventional method of characteristics is formed. The wind, buoyancy and eddy forcing account for the sea level variability in different regions. Sea level variability is primarily controlled by the wind forcing in the central to the northeast of the NEP, by the local buoyancy forcing in the southeast region between 210°E and 230°E, and by the eddy forcing in the southwest of the NEP. In addition, the diagnosis demonstrates that the local sea level response is more important than the remote response over most of the NEP, while the remote sea level response could play an important role in the southwest portion of the NEP.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, v. 126, issue 5, art. e2020JC016682