The influence of the North Atlantic Oscillation on the sea-level around the northern European coasts reconsidered: the thermosteric effects

M N Tsimplis, A G P Shaw, R A Flather, D K Woolf

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35 Citations (Scopus)


The thermosteric contribution of the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) to the North Sea sea level for the winter period is investigated. Satellite sea surface temperature as well as in situ measurements are used to define the sensitivity of winter water temperature to the NAO as well as to determine the trends in temperature. The sea surface temperature sensitivity to the NAO is about 0.85 degrees C per unit NAO, which results in thermosteric sea-level changes of about 1-2 cm per unit NAO. The sensitivity of sea surface temperatures to the NAO is strongly time-dependent. Model data from a two-dimensional hydrodynamic tide+surge model are used in combination with the estimated thermosteric anomalies to explain the observed sea-level changes and, in particular; the sensitivity of the datasets to the NAO variability. The agreement between the model and the observed data is improved by the inclusion of the thermosteric effect.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)845-856
Number of pages12
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences
Issue number1841
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2006

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