Evaluation of the Local Sea-Level Budget at Tide Gauges Since 1958

Jinping Wang, John A. Church, Xuebin Zhang, Jonathan M. Gregory, Laure Zanna, Xianyao Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although global mean sea-level rise since 1900 and regional mean sea-level change since the 1960s have been accounted for in terms of the sum of contributions, the same budget closure has not been achieved for local relative sea-level change from a global network of tide gauges. To address this, we combine new estimates of sterodynamic sea-level change (SDSL; including ocean dynamics), glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA), change in land ice mass and terrestrial water storage, and other local vertical land motion. We find that the observed trends over 1958–2015 at all 272 tide gauges distributed worldwide agree with the sum of contributions (within 90% confidence estimates), with similar mean trend (1.1 mm yr−1) and comparable spatial variability (standard deviation of 2.0 and 1.9 mm yr−1 respectively). SDSL is the dominant contribution to both local observed mean trend and spatial variability, except at locations close to former ice-sheets, where GIA dominates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2021GL094502
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number20
StatePublished - Oct 28 2021


  • glacial isostatic adjustment
  • sea-level budget
  • sea-level fingerprint
  • sterodynamic sea level
  • tide gauge
  • vertical land motion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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