Patterns of recent sea level rise in the East/Japan Sea (EJS) are investigated through the analyses of TOPEX/ Poseidon (T/P) sea level anomalies, thermosteric sea level (TSL) and tide gauge data. The 9-year long T/P analyses reveal average trends of 5.4  ±  0.3 mm yr –1  for all of EJS, which is much larger than the global rates of 3.1  ±  0.4 mm yr –1 found by the paper [1]. This T/P rate compares relatively well with those from TSL data and tidal sea level gauges, indicating that sea level rise in the EJS is mainly due to thermal expansion [2]. The southern EJS shows a non-uniform sea level trend pattern, with larger rates in the Ulleung and Yamato basins. This non-uniform pattern is discussed in terms of variable thermal expansions arising from a recent decadal trend in the temperature anomaly in the upper layer of the two basins. It is hypothesized that the long-term oscillation in the southern EJS may be related to decadal variability of the heat content anomaly in the upper 300 m of the Pacific Ocean, as reported by Levitus et al.’s paper [7], and to eddy fluctuations in the southern EJS. The recent results for the global mean sea level rise are also reviewed and discussed.

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Recent sea level rise in the east/Japan sea

Sok Kuh Kang   Korea Ocean Research & Development Institute, Ansan, Korea

J.Y. Cherniawsky   Institute of Ocean Sciences, Sidney, Canada

M.G.G. Foreman   Korea Ocean Research & Development Institute, Ansan, Korea

Hyoun-Woo Kang   Korea Ocean Research & Development Institute, Ansan, Korea

Chan Joo Jang   Korea Ocean Research & Development Institute, Ansan, Korea

Patterns of recent sea level rise in the East/Japan Sea (EJS) are investigated through the analyses of TOPEX/ Poseidon (T/P) sea level anomalies, thermosteric sea level (TSL) and tide gauge data. The 9-year long T/P analyses reveal average trends of 5.4  ±  0.3 mm yr –1  for all of EJS, which is much larger than the global rates of 3.1  ±  0.4 mm yr –1 found by the paper [1]. This T/P rate compares relatively well with those from TSL data and tidal sea level gauges, indicating that sea level rise in the EJS is mainly due to thermal expansion [2]. The southern EJS shows a non-uniform sea level trend pattern, with larger rates in the Ulleung and Yamato basins. This non-uniform pattern is discussed in terms of variable thermal expansions arising from a recent decadal trend in the temperature anomaly in the upper layer of the two basins. It is hypothesized that the long-term oscillation in the southern EJS may be related to decadal variability of the heat content anomaly in the upper 300 m of the Pacific Ocean, as reported by Levitus et al.’s paper [7], and to eddy fluctuations in the southern EJS. The recent results for the global mean sea level rise are also reviewed and discussed.

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