Sea level trends in Southeast Asian seas
Abstract. Southeast Asian seas span the largest archipelago in the global ocean and provide a complex oceanic pathway connecting the Pacific and Indian oceans. The Southeast Asian sea regional sea level trends are some of the highest observed in the modern satellite altimeter record that now spans almost 2 decades. Initial comparisons of global sea level reconstructions find that 17-year sea level trends over the past 60 years exhibit good agreement with decadal variability associated with the Pacific Decadal Oscillation and related fluctuations of trade winds in the region. The Southeast Asian sea region exhibits sea level trends that vary dramatically over the studied time period. This historical variation suggests that the strong regional sea level trends observed during the modern satellite altimeter record will abate as trade winds fluctuate on decadal and longer timescales. Furthermore, after removing the contribution of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) to sea level trends in the past 20 years, the rate of sea level rise is greatly reduced in the Southeast Asian sea region. As a result of the influence of the PDO, the Southeast Asian sea regional sea level trends during the 2010s and 2020s are likely to be less than the global mean sea level (GMSL) trend if the observed oscillations in wind forcing and sea level persist. Nevertheless, long-term sea level trends in the Southeast Asian seas will continue to be affected by GMSL rise occurring now and in the future.