Variability of Sea Surface Heights in the Baltic Sea: An Intercomparison of Observations and Model Simulations.

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Sea level changes in the Baltic Sea are dominated by internal, short-term variations that are mostly caused by the ephemeral nature of atmospheric conditions over the Baltic area. Tides are small and their influence decreases from western parts of the Baltic Sea to the Baltic Proper. Superimposed to the large short-term sea level changes (up to few decimeters from day to day) are seasonal and interannual variations (centimeters to decimeters). This study focuses on the comparison of sea surface heights obtained from observations and from a high resolution oceanographic model of the Baltic Sea. From this comparison, the accuracy of the modeled sea surface variations is evaluated, which is a necessary precondition for the further use of the oceanographic model in geodetic applications. The model reproduces all observed Baltic sea level variations very reliably with an accuracy of 5 to 9 cm (rms) for short-term variations (up to 2 months) and 8 cm (rms) for long-term variations (>2 months). An additional improvement of the model can be attained by including long-period sea level variations of the North Sea. The model performs well also in the case of extreme sea level events, as is shown for a major storm surge that occurred at the southern coast of the Baltic Sea in November 1995.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-134
Number of pages22
JournalMarine geodesy : an international journal of ocean surveys, mapping and sensing
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 16 Aug 2006

External IDs

Scopus 33745105667


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