We provide an assessment of sea level simulated in a suite of global ocean-sea ice models using the interannual CORE atmospheric state to determine surface ocean boundary buoyancy and momentum fluxes. These CORE-II simulations are compared amongst themselves as well as to observation-based estimates. We focus on the final 15 years of the simulations (1993–2007), as this is a period where the CORE-II atmospheric state is well sampled, and it allows us to compare sea level related fields to both satellite and in situ analyses. The ensemble mean of the CORE-II simulations broadly agree with various global and regional observation-based analyses during this period, though with the global mean thermosteric sea level rise biased low relative to observation-based analyses. The simulations reveal a positive trend in dynamic sea level in the west Pacific and negative trend in the east, with this trend arising from wind shifts and regional changes in upper 700 m ocean heat content. The models also exhibit a thermosteric sea level rise in the subpolar North Atlantic associated with a transition around 1995/1996 of the North Atlantic Oscillation to its negative phase, and the advection of warm subtropical waters into the subpolar gyre. Sea level trends are predominantly associated with steric trends, with thermosteric effects generally far larger than halosteric effects, except in the Arctic and North Atlantic. There is a general anti-correlation between thermosteric and halosteric effects for much of the World Ocean, associated with density compensated changes.
EPIC Alfred Wegener Institut