Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/os-2021-49
https://doi.org/10.5194/os-2021-49

  17 Jun 2021

17 Jun 2021

Review status: a revised version of this preprint was accepted for the journal OS and is expected to appear here in due course.

Mean Sea Level and Tidal Change in Ireland since 1842: A case study of Cork

David T. Pugh1, Edmund Bridge2, Robin Edwards3, Peter Hogarth1, Guy Westbrook4, Philip L. Woodworth1, and Gerard D. McCarthy5 David T. Pugh et al.
  • 1National Oceanography Centre, Joseph Proudman Building, 6 Brownlow St, Liverpool, UK
  • 2Office of Public Works, Jonathan Swift Street, Trim, Co. Meath, Ireland
  • 3School of Natural Sciences, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland
  • 4The Marine Institute, Rinville, Oranmore, Galway, Ireland
  • 5ICARUS, Department of Geography, Maynooth University, Maynooth, Co. Kildare, Ireland

Abstract. Knowledge of regional changes in mean sea level, and local changes in tides are crucial to inform effective climate adaptation. An essential element of this is the availability of accurate observations of sea level. Sea level data in the Republic of Ireland, prior to the establishment of the National Tide Gauge Network in the mid- 2000s, is very limited but belies a wealth of historical data available in archival form. In this study, we digitize records located in Cork Harbour, Ireland from 1842 and show how short duration (6–8 weeks), high quality data, with a large interval (177 years) to the present, can accurately inform tidal and mean sea level changes. We consider error sources in detail and estimate that for M2 the accuracy of these historical measurements is 1 % and 2 minutes for amplitude and phase respectively, once adjustments for seasonal and nodal effects are made. Our mean sea level estimates are accurate to 2 cm level, once adjustments for atmospheric and seasonal effects are made. Our results show remarkable tidal stability with a 2 % change in the amplitude of the M2 component and 4-minute change in the phase over a period of 177 years; and a mean sea level rise of 40 cm in the Cork Harbour area since 1842, approximately in line with global mean sea level trends plus local glacial isostatic adjustment. More broadly, we show that with careful seasonal, nodal, and atmospheric corrections, together with good knowledge of benchmark provenance, these historic, survey- oriented data can accurately inform of sea level changes.

David T. Pugh et al.

Status: closed

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on os-2021-49', Marta Marcos, 12 Jul 2021
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Gerard McCarthy, 12 Aug 2021
  • RC2: 'Comment on os-2021-49', Anonymous Referee #2, 23 Jul 2021
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Gerard McCarthy, 02 Sep 2021
  • CC1: 'Comment on os-2021-49', J. Brian MATTHEWS, 11 Aug 2021
    • AC3: 'Reply on CC1', Gerard McCarthy, 02 Sep 2021

Status: closed

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on os-2021-49', Marta Marcos, 12 Jul 2021
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Gerard McCarthy, 12 Aug 2021
  • RC2: 'Comment on os-2021-49', Anonymous Referee #2, 23 Jul 2021
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Gerard McCarthy, 02 Sep 2021
  • CC1: 'Comment on os-2021-49', J. Brian MATTHEWS, 11 Aug 2021
    • AC3: 'Reply on CC1', Gerard McCarthy, 02 Sep 2021

David T. Pugh et al.

David T. Pugh et al.

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Short summary
Observations of sea level, taken manually by reading a tide pole, were carefully taken at a number of locations around Ireland in 1842 as part of the first land survey of Ireland. Our study investigates how useful this type of sea level observation is for understanding mean sea level and tidal change. We find that, when carefully adjusted for seasonal, meteorological, and astronomical factors, these data can provide important insights into changing sea levels.