Sea level changes at Ascension Island in the last half century
DOI: 10.2989/1814232X.2012.689623
Title: Sea level changes at Ascension Island in the last half century
Journal Title: African Journal of Marine Science
Volume: Volume 34
Issue: Issue 3
Publication Date: October 2012
Start Page: 443
End Page: 452
Published online: 25 Oct 2012
ISSN: 1814-232X
Author: PL Woodwortha*, PR Fodena, DS Jonesa, J Pugha, SJ Holgatea, A Hibberta, DL Blackmana, CR Bellinghama, VM Roussenovb & RG Williamsb
a National Oceanography Centre , Joseph Proudman Building, 6 Brownlow Street, Liverpool , L3 5DA , UK
b School of Environmental Sciences , University of Liverpool , Liverpool , L69 3GP , UK
Abstract: An exercise in ‘data archaeology’ at Ascension Island has provided an estimate of Sea level change between 1955 and 2001.5 (the mid-point of a recent dataset spanning 1993–2009). That average trend of 0.93 mm y?1 (SE 0.69) compares to a larger rate during 1993–2009 itself of 2.55 (SE 0.13) and 2.07 (SE 0.30) mm y?1 from tide gauge and altimeter data respectively, suggesting a recent acceleration in Sea level rise. An ocean model and steric height datasets have been used for comparison to the measurements, with the conclusion that the acceleration was probably at least partly due to a steric height increase. This exercise is based on only one month of historical tide gauge data and is admittedly on the useful limit for long-term Sea level studies. In addition, it is unfortunate that the tide gauge benchmark installed in 1955 has disappeared, even if one can estimate its height relative to modern marks. Nevertheless, the study does provide information of interest to climate studies, enables limits to be inferred on the real changes, and provides background information for other coastal studies. Most importantly, it is intended as a demonstration of the value of similar exercises where short historical records exist.
Accepted: 25 Apr 2012

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