Signals in sea-level or, more properly, sub-surface pressure (SSP; sea-level corrected for the inverse barometer effect) are expected to propagate rapidly along the continental slope due to the effect of sloping topography on wave modes, resulting in strongly correlated SSP over long-distances. Observations of such correlations around the Arctic and Antarctic are briefly reviewed, and then extended using satellite altimetry to the rest of the global continental slope. It is shown that such long-distance correlations are common, especially in extra-tropical regions. Simple correlations from altimetry cannot, however, establish the wave speed, or whether waves are responsible for the correlations as opposed to large-scale coherence in the forcing. A case study around South America is used to highlight some of the complications, and is found to strengthen the case for the importance of wave modes in such long-distance SSP coherence, although more detailed in situ data are required to resolve the cause of the correlations.
↵† Present address: British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge, UK.
One contribution of 20 to a Theme Issue ‘Sea level science’.
- © 2006 The Royal Society