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Tides -- Pacific Ocean, Sea level -- Environmental aspects, Climatic changes, Floods--Climatic factors


Ocean tides are changing worldwide for reasons unrelated to astronomical forcing. Changes in tidal properties coupled with altered mean sea level (MSL) may yield higher peak water levels and increased occurrence of short-term exceedance events, such as storm surge and nuisance flooding. Here we investigate the hypothesis that changes in relative sea level are correlated with alterations in tidal amplitudes. Our approach focuses on the correlation between short-term (monthly to interannual) fluctuations in sea level with changes in tidal properties of major ocean tides (M2, and K1; S2 and O1) at 152 gauges. Results suggest that sea level variability is correlated to interannual tidal variability at most (92%) of tide gauges in the Pacific, with statistically significant rates between ±10 and ±500 mm per meter sea level rise observed. These tidal anomalies, while influenced by basin-scale climate processes and sea level changes, appear to be locally forced (in part) and not coherent over amphidromic or basin-wide scales. Overall, the Western Pacific shows a greater concentration of tide/sea level correlations at interannual time scales than the Eastern Pacific; 44% and 46% of gauges are significant in K1 and O1 in the west compared to 29% and 30% in the east, and 63% and 53% of gauges in the west are significant in M2 and S2 versus 47% and 32% in the east. Seasonal variation in tidal properties is less apparent in the empirical record, with statistically significant seasonal variations observed at only 35% of all gauges, with the largest concentrations in Southeast Asia.


Copyright 2017. American Geophysical Union.

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