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Article

Long-Term Changes, Inter-Annual, and Monthly Variability of Sea Level at the Coasts of the Spanish Mediterranean and the Gulf of Cádiz

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Centro Oceanográfico de Málaga, Instituto Español de Oceanografía, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), Puerto Pesquero s/n, Fuengirola, 29640 Málaga, Spain
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Servicios Centrales, Instituto Español de Oceanografía, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), C. del Corazón de María, 8, 28002 Madrid, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Fabrizio Antonioli and Jesus Martinez-Frias
Geosciences 2021, 11(8), 350; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences11080350
Received: 14 June 2021 / Revised: 16 August 2021 / Accepted: 17 August 2021 / Published: 20 August 2021
One of the effects of climate change is the rise of sea level, which poses an important threat to coastal areas. Therefore, the protection and management of coastal ecosystems as well as human infrastructures and constructions require an accurate knowledge of those changes occurring at a local scale. In this study, long time series of sea level from tide gauges distributed along the southern (Atlantic) and eastern (Mediterranean) Spanish coasts were analyzed. Linear trends were calculated for two periods, from early 1940s to 2018 and from 1990 to 2018. Values for the former period ranged between 0.68 and 1.22 mm/year. These trends experienced a significant increase for the second period, when they ranged between 1.5 and 4.6 mm/year. Previous research analyzed the effect of atmospheric forcing in the Mediterranean Sea by means of 2D numerical models, and the steric contribution was directly evaluated by the integration of density along the water column. In this study, the effect of atmospheric forcing and the thermosteric and halosteric contributions on coastal sea level were empirically determined by means of statistical linear models that established which factors affected sea level at each location and what the numerical response of the observed sea level was to the contributing factors. Atmospheric pressure and the west–east component of the wind hada significant contribution to the sea level variability at most of the tide gauges. The thermosteric and halosteric components of sea level also contributed to the sea level variability at all the tide gauges, with the only exception of Alicante. Atmospheric forcing and the steric components of sea level experienced long-term trends. The combination of such trends, with the response of sea level to these factors, allowed us to estimate their contribution to the observed sea level trends. The part of these trends not explained by the atmospheric variables and the steric contributions was attributed to mass addition. Trends associated with mass addition ranged between 0.6 and 1.2 mm/year for the period 1948–2018 and between 1.0 and 4.5 mm/year for the period 1990–2018. View Full-Text
Keywords: coastal sea level; long-term trends; atmospheric forcing; steric contribution; mass addition coastal sea level; long-term trends; atmospheric forcing; steric contribution; mass addition
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MDPI and ACS Style

Vargas-Yáñez, M.; Tel, E.; Moya, F.; Ballesteros, E.; García-Martínez, M.C. Long-Term Changes, Inter-Annual, and Monthly Variability of Sea Level at the Coasts of the Spanish Mediterranean and the Gulf of Cádiz. Geosciences 2021, 11, 350. https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences11080350

AMA Style

Vargas-Yáñez M, Tel E, Moya F, Ballesteros E, García-Martínez MC. Long-Term Changes, Inter-Annual, and Monthly Variability of Sea Level at the Coasts of the Spanish Mediterranean and the Gulf of Cádiz. Geosciences. 2021; 11(8):350. https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences11080350

Chicago/Turabian Style

Vargas-Yáñez, Manuel, Elena Tel, Francina Moya, Enrique Ballesteros, and Mari C. García-Martínez. 2021. "Long-Term Changes, Inter-Annual, and Monthly Variability of Sea Level at the Coasts of the Spanish Mediterranean and the Gulf of Cádiz" Geosciences 11, no. 8: 350. https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences11080350

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