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Sea level rise due to climate change: What do we know? What are the next questions to address? How does metrology help us to answer?
by Mr. Michaël Ablain, Dr. Anne Barnoud, Dr. Benoit Meyssignac, Dr. Adrien Guérou, Dr. Salvatore Dinardo, Dr. Ngan Tran, Mr. Sébastien Figuerou, Dr. Emma Woolliams, Dr. Hannah Cheales, Dr. Sajedeh Behnia , Dr. Jonathan Mittaz, Dr. Craig Donlon, Dr. Robert Cullen


The altimetry data record (1993-2021) has enabled the global mean sea level (GMSL) rise to be quantified. Not only is the sea level rising, but it is accelerating (Dieng et al., 2017; Nerem et al., 2018; Ablain et al. 2019) and understanding this acceleration is necessary both to support society’s response to climate change and to inform climate research on the sea level budget, greenhouse gas forcing and the Earth energy balance. Here we describe work on quantifying the uncertainty on the sea level climate data record, and identifying the uncertainty needed to provide new answers to the climate research questions. Work by Ablain et al. (2019) at a global scale, has quantified GMSL rise as +3.3 mm/yr (90% confidence uncertainties 0.33 mm/yr) over 1993-2021. Its acceleration has been quantified at 0.12 ± 0.06 mm/yr² (update from Ablain et al., 2019). At local scales, (Prandi et al. 2021), the sea level is rising almost everywhere over the globe, at rates ranging between 0 and 6 mm/yr, with uncertainties ranging from 0.8 to 1.2 mm/yr depending on the location. The local sea level accelerations are ranging between -1 mm/yr² and +1 mm/yr² with uncertainties between 0.057 and 0.12 mm/yr² (Prandi et al., 2021). Here we present more recent work refining these uncertainty estimates through a metrological approach that propagates uncertainties, and error covariance structures, through the full processing chain from the raw waveform to GMSL, using methods described in Mittaz et al. (2019). We put the work in the context of the uncertainties needed for climate science research. The work was developed in the ASELSU project funded by ESA.

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Topic : Theme 1: Oceans and Hydrology.
Reference : T1-B6

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