Summary Monthly ocean bottom pressure solutions from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE), derived using surface spherical cap mass concentration (MC) blocks and spherical harmonics (SH) basis functions, are compared to tide gauge (TG) monthly averaged sea level data over 2003–2015 to evaluate improved gravimetric data processing methods near the coast. MC solutions can explain ≳ 42% of the monthly variance in TG time series over broad shelf regions and in semi-enclosed marginal seas. MC solutions also generally explain ∼5–32 % more TG data variance than SH estimates. Applying a coastline resolution improvement algorithm in the GRACE data processing leads to ∼ 31% more variance in TG records explained by the MC solution on average compared to not using this algorithm. Synthetic observations sampled from an ocean general circulation model exhibit similar patterns of correspondence between modeled TG and MC time series and differences between MC and SH time series in terms of their relationship with TG time series, suggesting that observational results here are generally consistent with expectations from ocean dynamics. This work demonstrates the improved quality of recent MC solutions compared to earlier SH estimates over the coastal ocean, and suggests that the MC solutions could be a useful tool for understanding contemporary coastal sea level variability and change. Global change from geodesy, Satellite geodesy, Satellite gravity, Sea level change, Time variable gravity © The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society. This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model (https://academic.oup.com/journals/pages/about_us/legal/notices)
Geophysical Journal International – Oxford University Press
Published: May 21, 2018
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