Understanding of contemporary regional sea-level change and the implications for the future

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Hamlington, Benjamin D.
Gardner, Alex S.
Ivins, Erik
Lenaerts, Jan T. M.
Reager, John T.
Trossman, David S.
Zaron, Edward D.
Adhikari, Surendra
Arendt, Anthony
Aschwanden, Andy
Beckley, Brian D.
Bekaert, David P. S.
Blewitt, Geoffrey
Caron, Lambert
Chambers, Don P.
Chandanpurkar, Hrishikesh A.
Christianson, Knut
Csatho, Beata
Cullather, Richard I.
DeConto, Robert M.
Fasullo, John T.
Frederikse, Thomas
Freymueller, Jeffrey T.
Gilford, Daniel M.
Girotto, Manuela
Hammond, William C.
Hock, Regine
Holschuh, Nicholas
Kopp, Robert E.
Landerer, Felix
Larour, Eric
Menemenlis, Dimitris
Merrifield, Mark
Mitrovica, Jerry X.
Nerem, R. Steven
Nias, Isabel J.
Nieves, Veronica
Nowicki, Sophie
Pangaluru, Kishore
Piecuch, Christopher G.
Ray, Richard D.
Rounce, David R.
Schlegel, Nicole‐Jeanne
Seroussi, Helene
Shirzaei, Manoochehr
Sweet, William V.
Velicogna, Isabella
Vinogradova, Nadya
Wahl, Thomas
Wiese, David N.
Willis, Michael J.
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Sea level
Satellite observations
Remote sensing
Global sea level provides an important indicator of the state of the warming climate, but changes in regional sea level are most relevant for coastal communities around the world. With improvements to the sea‐level observing system, the knowledge of regional sea‐level change has advanced dramatically in recent years. Satellite measurements coupled with in situ observations have allowed for comprehensive study and improved understanding of the diverse set of drivers that lead to variations in sea level in space and time. Despite the advances, gaps in the understanding of contemporary sea‐level change remain and inhibit the ability to predict how the relevant processes may lead to future change. These gaps arise in part due to the complexity of the linkages between the drivers of sea‐level change. Here we review the individual processes which lead to sea‐level change and then describe how they combine and vary regionally. The intent of the paper is to provide an overview of the current state of understanding of the processes that cause regional sea‐level change and to identify and discuss limitations and uncertainty in our understanding of these processes. Areas where the lack of understanding or gaps in knowledge inhibit the ability to provide the needed information for comprehensive planning efforts are of particular focus. Finally, a goal of this paper is to highlight the role of the expanded sea‐level observation network—particularly as related to satellite observations—in the improved scientific understanding of the contributors to regional sea‐level change.
Author Posting. © American Geophysical Union, 2020. This article is posted here by permission of American Geophysical Union for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Reviews of Geophysics 58(3), (2020): e2019RG000672, doi:10.1029/2019RG000672.
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Hamlington, B. D., Gardner, A. S., Ivins, E., Lenaerts, J. T. M., Reager, J. T., Trossman, D. S., Zaron, E. D., Adhikari, S., Arendt, A., Aschwanden, A., Beckley, B. D., Bekaert, D. P. S., Blewitt, G., Caron, L., Chambers, D. P., Chandanpurkar, H. A., Christianson, K., Csatho, B., Cullather, R., I., DeConto, R. M., Fasullo, J. T., Frederikse, T., Freymueller, J. T., Gilford, D. M., Girotto, M., Hammond, W. C., Hock, R., Holschuh, N., Kopp, R. E., Landerer, F., Larour, E., Menemenlis, D., Merrifield, M., Mitrovica, J. X., Nerem, R. S., Nias, I. J., Nieves, V., Nowicki, S., Pangaluru, K., Piecuch, C. G., Ray, R. D., Rounce, D. R., Schlegel, N., Seroussi, H., Shirzaei, M., Sweet, W., V., Velicogna, I., Vinogradova, N., Wahl, T., Wiese, D. N., & Willis, M. J. (2020). Understanding of contemporary regional sea-level change and the implications for the future. Reviews of Geophysics, 58(3), e2019RG000672.
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