Closing the regional sea-level budget in the satellite era


Global mean sea level has been rising at a rate of 3.4±0.4 mm/yr between 1993 and 2014, but regional variations can be large, with rates of up to 10 mm/yr in the same period. Regional differences are caused by a number of processes acting on different temporal and spatial scales, such as ocean dynamics, land ice mass and land water storage changes and associated gravitational effects, and vertical land movement. Although the main processes have been identified, we are still not in the position to explain observed regional sea-level variations in the past century, partly due to large uncertainties in reconstructions of past sea-level change. In this research project, we will first focus on closing the regional sea-level budget in the satellite altimetry era (since 1993) on a regional scale and consistently for the entire ocean. The satellite altimetry period provides the best observations and is therefore the ideal starting point for developing methods and refining understanding of past sea-level change, which will feed into efforts to understand the whole 20th century observational sea-level record. Our second objective is to use the budget contributions as a tool to answer research questions to increase understanding of processes contributing to sea-level change. In particular, we propose to look into i) the impact of internal climate variability on land water storage and the associated changes in regional sea level, and ii) the hot-spots of the different contributions to regional sea-level change.


Project number


Main applicant

Dr. ir. A.B.A. Slangen

Affiliated with

NIOZ - Koninklijk Nederlands Instituut voor Onderzoek der Zee, NIOZ-Yerseke, Estuarine and Delta Systems (EDS)


01/01/2018 to 31/12/2021