Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/os-2021-63
https://doi.org/10.5194/os-2021-63

  02 Jul 2021

02 Jul 2021

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

Decadal sea level variability in the Australasian Mediterranean Sea

Patrick Wagner and Claus W. Böning Patrick Wagner and Claus W. Böning
  • GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, Kiel Germany

Abstract. Strong, regional sea level trends, mainly related to basin–wide wind stress anomalies, have been observed in the western tropical Pacific over the last three decades. Analyses of regional sea level in the densely populated regions of the neighbouring Australasian Mediterranean Sea (AMS) are hindered by its complex topography and respective studies are sparse. We used a series of global, eddy permitting ocean models, including a high–resolution configuration that resolves the AMS with horizontal resolution, forced by a comprehensive atmospheric forcing product over 1958–2016, to characterize the patterns and magnitude of decadal sea level variability in the AMS. The nature of this variability is elucidated further by sensitivity experiments with interannual variability restricted to either the momentum or buoyancy fluxes, building on an experiment employing a repeated-year forcing without interannual variability in all forcing components. Our results suggest that decadal fluctuations of ENSO account for over 80 % of the variability in all deep basins of the region, except for the central South China Sea (SCS). PDO–related changes are most pronounced in the shallow Arafura and Timor seas and in the central SCS. On average, buoyancy fluxes account for less than 10 % of decadal SSH variability, although this ratio is highly variable over time and can reach values of up to 50 %. In particular, our results suggest that buoyancy flux forcing amplifies the dominant wind stress driven anomalies related to ENSO cycles. Intrinsic variability is mostly negligible except in the SCS, where it accounts for 25 % of the total decadal SSH variability.

Patrick Wagner and Claus W. Böning

Status: closed

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on os-2021-63', Brett Buzzanga, 28 Jul 2021
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Patrick Wagner, 02 Sep 2021
  • RC2: 'Comment on os-2021-63', Anonymous Referee #2, 13 Aug 2021
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Patrick Wagner, 02 Sep 2021
  • RC3: 'Comment on os-2021-63', Anonymous Referee #3, 13 Aug 2021
    • AC3: 'Reply on RC3', Patrick Wagner, 02 Sep 2021

Status: closed

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on os-2021-63', Brett Buzzanga, 28 Jul 2021
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Patrick Wagner, 02 Sep 2021
  • RC2: 'Comment on os-2021-63', Anonymous Referee #2, 13 Aug 2021
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Patrick Wagner, 02 Sep 2021
  • RC3: 'Comment on os-2021-63', Anonymous Referee #3, 13 Aug 2021
    • AC3: 'Reply on RC3', Patrick Wagner, 02 Sep 2021

Patrick Wagner and Claus W. Böning

Patrick Wagner and Claus W. Böning

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Short summary
We characterized the pattern and magnitude of decadal sea level variability in the Australasian Mediterranean Sea by using high-resolution ocean models. Our results suggest low-frequency ENSO variations and PDO-related changes as a primary source of variability. Sensitivity experiments indicate that anomalies are primarily driven by wind stress fluctuation but also amplified by local heat and freshwater fluxes. Intrinsic variability is relevant in the South China Sea.