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Original Research Papers

Influence of long-term regional and large-scale atmospheric circulation on the Baltic sea level

Author:

Helén C. Andersson

Department of Earth Sciences – Oceanography, Göteborg University, PO Box 460, S-405 30 Göteborg, SE
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Abstract

The connection between variations in the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) index and the Baltic sea level has been investigated for the period 1825—1997. The association between the NAO and the strength of the zonal geostrophic wind stress over the Northwest Atlantic suggests an NAO impact on Baltic sea level variations, because the monthly mean sea level mainly is determined by externally driven variations caused by wind conditions over the North Sea. Several period bands were found to have high correlation between oscillations in the winter (JFM) NAO index and the Baltic Sea winter mean sea level. The correlation was, however, higher in the 20th century than in the 19th. During the last two decades, the correlation between the NAO index and the sea level has been exceptionally high. The winter mean of a regional atmospheric circulation index had a correlation with the Kattegat winter mean sea level of 0.93. With the Baltic sea level the correlation was 0.91, compared with the NAO index correlation for the same period of 0.74. The regional index also showed a high correlation with the mean summer and mean autumn sea levels, when the corresponding seasonal NAO indices showed a weak connection. The temporal variation of the connection with the NAO index implies aregional atmospheric circulation occasionally differing from the large-scale circulation associated with the NAO. Seasonal means of the sea level in Stockholm do, however, reflect the regional wind climate to a large extent, and the Baltic sea level is a useful proxy for identifications of climatic dependencies in the region.

How to Cite: Andersson, H.C., 2002. Influence of long-term regional and large-scale atmospheric circulation on the Baltic sea level. Tellus A: Dynamic Meteorology and Oceanography, 54(1), pp.76–88. DOI: http://doi.org/10.3402/tellusa.v54i1.12125
  Published on 01 Jan 2002
 Accepted on 1 Oct 2001            Submitted on 7 Feb 2000

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