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Trends and uncertainties of mass-driven sea-level change in the satellite altimetry era
Camargo, C.M.L.; Riva, R.E.M.; Hermans, T.H.J.; Slangen, A.B.A. (2022). Trends and uncertainties of mass-driven sea-level change in the satellite altimetry era. Earth System Dynamics 13(3): 1351-1375.

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In: Earth System Dynamics. Copernicus: Göttingen. ISSN 2190-4979; e-ISSN 2190-4987, meer
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Camargo, C.M.L., meer
  • Riva, R.E.M.
  • Hermans, T.H.J., meer
  • Slangen, A.B.A., meer


    Ocean mass change is one of the main drivers of present-day sea-level change (SLC). Also known as barystatic SLC, ocean mass change is caused by the exchange of freshwater between the land and the ocean, such as melting of continental ice from glaciers and ice sheets, and variations in land water storage. While many studies have quantified the present-day barystatic contribution to global mean SLC, fewer works have looked into regional changes. This study provides an analysis of regional patterns of contemporary mass redistribution associated with barystatic SLC since 1993 (the satellite altimetry era), with a focus on the uncertainty budget. We consider three types of uncertainties: intrinsic (the uncertainty from the data/model itself), temporal (related to the temporal variability in the time series) and spatial–structural (related to the spatial distribution of the mass change sources). Regional patterns (fingerprints) of barystatic SLC are computed from a range of estimates of the individual freshwater sources and used to analyze the different types of uncertainty. Combining all contributions, we find that regional sea-level trends range from −0.4to 3.3 mm yr−1 for 2003–2016 and from −0.3 to 2.6 mm yr −1 for 1993–2016, considering the 5–95th percentile range across all grid points and depending on the choice of dataset. When all types of uncertainties from all contributions are combined, the total barystatic uncertainties regionally range from 0.6 to 1.3 mm yr−1 for 2003–2016 and from 0.4 to 0.8 mm yr−1 for 1993–2016, also depending on the dataset choice. We find that the temporal uncertainty dominates the budget, responsible on average for 65 % of the total uncertainty, followed by the spatial–structural and intrinsic uncertainties, which contribute on average 16 % and 18 %, respectively. The main source of uncertainty is the temporal uncertainty from the land water storage contribution, which is responsible for 35 %–60 % of the total uncertainty, depending on the region of interest. Another important contribution comes from the spatial–structural uncertainty from Antarctica and land water storage, which shows that different locations of mass change can lead to trend deviations larger than 20 %. As the barystatic SLC contribution and its uncertainty vary significantly from region to region, better insights into regional SLC are important for local management and adaptation planning.

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