Two sets of 62-year (1948–2009) and 21-year (1989–2009) high-resolution hindcasts of the meteorological sea level component have been developed for Southern Europe using the Regional Ocean Model System (ROMS) of Rutgers University. These new databases, named GOS 1.1 and GOS 2.1, are a valuable tool for a wide variety of studies, such as those related to a better understanding of sea level variability, flooding risk and coastal engineering studies. The model domain encloses Southern Europe, including the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic coast, with a horizontal resolution of 1/8° (~14 km). In order to study the effect of the atmospheric forcing resolution, ROMS is driven with two different regional atmospheric forcings: SeaWind I (30 km of horizontal resolution) and SeaWind II (15 km of horizontal resolution). Both are the result of a dynamical downscaling from global atmospheric reanalysis: NCEP global reanalysis and ERA-Interim global reanalysis, respectively. As a result, two surge data sets are obtained: GOS 1.1 (forced with SeaWind I) and GOS 2.1 (forced with SeaWind II). Surge elevations calculated by ROMS are compared with in situ measurements from tide gauges in coastal areas and with open ocean satellite observations. The validation procedure, testing outcomes from GOS 1.1 and GOS 2.1 against observations, shows the capability of the model to simulate accurately the sea level variation induced by the meteorological forcing. A description of the surge in terms of seasonality and long term trends is also made. The climate variability analysis reveals clear seasonal patterns in the Mediterranean Sea basins. A long-term negative trend for the period 1948–2009 is found, whilst positive trends are computed for the last 20 years (GOS 2.1).
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The authors would like to thank Puertos del Estado for the REDMAR network’s data provided for this study, as well as the University of Hawaii Sea Level Center, Système d’Observation du Niveau des Eaux Littorales and Istituto Superiore per la Protezione e la Ricerca Ambientale. The satellite data were produced by Ssalto/Duacs and distributed by Aviso, with support from Cnes. This work was partly funded by the Projects iMar21 (CTM2010-15009) and SaltyCor (BIA2011-29031-C02-00) from the Spanish government, and from the FP7 European Projects CoCoNet (287844) and Theseus (ENV.2009-1, n244104). GOS 1.1 and GOS 2.1 data sets are available under request for scientific purposes.
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