Seasonal sea level change from TOPEX/Poseidon observation and thermal contribution
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Seasonal steric sea-level change due to temperature variation in the mixing layer is assessed using space-measured sea-surface temperature data and historical in situ temperature measurements. The results are compared with TOPEX/Poseidon satellite altimeter measurement at different large spatial scales. It is indicated that thermal effect accounts for much of the observed seasonal variability, especially when averaging over zonal regions. Some regional seasonal patterns of sea-level anomalies in the tropical oceans are well represented by the thermal model prediction. Systematic differences are shown between TOPEX/Poseidon observation and thermal contribution at a 1–2 cm level. The potential causes for these differences are discussed, including water mass exchanges among the atmosphere, land, and oceans, and error sources in the steric result and geophysical corrections applied in TOPEX/Poseidon data.
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