Pacific sea level rise patterns and global surface temperature variability

Cheryl E. Peyser, Jianjun Yin, Felix W. Landerer, Julia E. Cole

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Scopus citations

Abstract

During 1998–2012, climate change and sea level rise (SLR) exhibit two notable features: a slowdown of global surface warming (hiatus) and a rapid SLR in the tropical western Pacific. To quantify their relationship, we analyze the long-term control simulations of 38 climate models. We find a significant and robust correlation between the east-west contrast of dynamic sea level (DSL) in the Pacific and global mean surface temperature (GST) variability on both interannual and decadal time scales. Based on linear regression of the multimodel ensemble mean, the anomalously fast SLR in the western tropical Pacific observed during 1998–2012 indicates suppression of a potential global surface warming of 0.16° ± 0.06°C. In contrast, the Pacific contributed 0.29° ± 0.10°C to the significant interannual GST increase in 1997/1998. The Pacific DSL anomalies observed in 2015 suggest that the strong El Niño in 2015/2016 could lead to a 0.21° ± 0.07°C GST jump.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8662-8669
Number of pages8
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Volume43
Issue number16
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 28 2016

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Keywords

  • Pacific
  • global temperature
  • sea level rise
  • warming hiatus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

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