Sea-level fingerprints due to present-day water mass redistribution in observed sea-level data

Lorena Moreira, Anny Cazenave, Anne Barnoud, Jianli Chen

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Satellite altimetry over the oceans shows that the rate of sea-level rise is far from uniform, with reported regional rates up to two to three times the global mean rate of rise of ~3.3 mm/year during the altimeter era. The mechanisms causing the regional variations in sea-level trends are dominated by ocean temperature and salinity changes, and other processes such as ocean mass redistribution as well as solid Earth’s deformations and gravitational changes in response to past and ongoing mass redistributions caused by land ice melt and terrestrial water storage changes (respectively known as Glacial Isostatic Adjustment (GIA) and sea-level fingerprints). Here, we attempt to detect the spatial trend patterns of the fingerprints associated with present-day land ice melt and terrestrial water mass changes, using satellite altimetry-based sea-level grids corrected for the steric component. Although the signal-to-noise ratio is still very low, a statistically significant correlation between altimetry-based sea-level and modelled fingerprints is detected in some ocean regions. We also examine spatial trend patterns in observed GRACE ocean mass corrected for atmospheric and oceanic loading and find that some oceanic regions are dominated by the fingerprints of present-day water mass redistribution.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4667
JournalRemote Sensing
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Altimetry
  • Fingerprints
  • Sea level
  • Steric sea-level

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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