Steric Sea-level Variations Inferred from Combined Topex/Poseidon Altimetry and GRACE Gravimetry
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In this study, we propose to estimate the steric sea-level variations over a < 2-year period (April 2002 through December 2003) by combining global mean sea level (GMSL) based on Topex/Poseidon (T/P) altimetry with time-variable geoid averaged over the oceans, as observed by the GRACE (Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment) satellite. In effect, altimetry-derived GMSL changes results from two contributions: Steric (thermal plus salinity) effects due to sea water density change and ocean mass change due to water exchange with atmosphere and continents. On the other hand, GRACE data over the oceans provide the ocean mass change component only. The paper first discusses the corrections to apply to the GRACE data. Then the steric contribution to the GMSL is estimated using GRACE and T/P data. Comparison with available thermal expansion based on in situ hydrographic data is performed.
KeywordsGlobal Ocean Steric sea level ocean mass change GRACE time-variable gravity TOPEX/poseidon altimetry hydrographic data
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