Understanding the relation between wind- and pressure-driven sea level variability

Author: Rui M. Ponte
Date: 
January 4, 1994
Type: 
Journal Article
Venue: 
Journal of Geophysical Research
Citation: 

Ponte, R.M., 1994. Understanding the relation between wind- and pressure-driven sea level variability. Journal of Geophysical Research, 99, 8033-8039.

Sea surface adjustment to combined wind and pressure forcing is examined using numerical solutions to the shallow water equations. The experiments use coastal geometry and bottom topography representative of the North Atlantic and are forced by realistic barometric pressure and wind stress fields. The response to pressure is essentially static or close to the inverted barometer solution at periods longer than a few days and dominates the sea level variability, with wind-driven sea level signals being relatively small. With regard to the dynamic signals, wind-driven fluctuations dominate at long periods, as expected from quasi-geostrophic theory. Pressure becomes more important than wind stress as a source of dynamic signals only at periods shorter than approximately three days. Wind- and pressure-driven sea level fluctuations are anticorrelated over most regions. Hence regressions of sea level on barometric pressure yield coefficients generally smaller than expected for the inverted barometer response known to be the case in the model. In the regions of significant wind-pressure correlation effects, to infer the correct pressure response using statistical methods, input fields must include winds as well as pressure. Because of the nonlocal character of the wind response, multivariate statistical models with local wind driving as input are not very successful. Inclusion of nonlocal wind variability over extensive regions is necessary to extract the correct pressure response. Implications of these results to the interpretation of sea level observations are discussed.

 

This article was presented at AGU Ocean Sciences Meeting in San Diego.

Ponte, R.M., 1994. Understanding the relation between wind- and pressure-driven sea level variability. AGU Ocean Sciences Meeting, San Diego, February 1994.