While global mean sea level rise (SLR) and acceleration (SLA) are indicators of climate change and are informative regarding the current state of the climate, assessments of regional and local SLR are essential for policy makers responding to, and preparing for, changes in sea level. In this work, three acceleration detection techniques are used to demonstrate the robust SLA in the China Seas. Interannual to multidecadal sea level variations (periods >2 years), which are mainly related to natural internal climate variability and significantly affect estimation of sea level acceleration, are removed with empirical mode decomposition (EMD) analysis prior to the acceleration determination. Consistent SLAs of 0.085 ± 0.020 mm·yr−2
(1950–2013) and 0.074 ± 0.032 mm·yr−2
(1959–2013) in regional tide gauge records are shown to result from the three applied approaches in the Bohai Sea (BS) and East China Sea (ECS), respectively. The SLAs can be detected in records as short as 20 years if long-term sea level variability is adequately removed. The spatial distribution of SLA derived from a sea level reconstruction shows significant SLA in the BS, Yellow Sea (YS) and Yangtze River Estuary.
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