Journal Article

Wind stress forcing of the North Sea ‘pole tide’

William P. O’Connor, Benjamin Fong Chao, Dawei Zheng and Andrew Y. Au

in Geophysical Journal International

Volume 142, issue 2, pages 620-630
Published in print August 2000 | ISSN: 0956-540X
Published online August 2000 | e-ISSN: 1365-246X | DOI:
Wind stress forcing of the North Sea ‘pole tide’

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We conduct numerical simulations of the wind forcing of sea level variations in the North Sea using a barotropic ocean model with realistic geography and bathymetry to examine the forcing of the 14 month ‘pole tide’, which is known to be anomalously large along the Denmark–Netherlands coast. The simulation input is the monthly mean surface wind stress field from the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) reanalysis for the 40 year period 1958–1997. The ocean model output sea level response is then compared with 10 coastal tide gauge records from the Permanent Service for Mean Sea Level (PSMSL) over the same period of time. Besides the strong seasonal variations, several prominent quasi-periodicities exist near 7 years, 3 years, 14 months, 9 months and 6.5 months. Correlations and spectral analyses show remarkable agreement between the model output and the observations, particularly in the 14 month, or Chandler, period band. The latter indicates that the enhanced pole tide found in the North Sea along the Denmark–Netherlands coast is actually the coastal set-up response to wind stress forcing with a periodicity of around 14 months. We find no need to invoke a geophysical explanation involving resonance enhancement of the pole tide in the North Sea to explain the observations.

Keywords: Chandler wobble; North Sea; pole tide; sea level; tides; winds.

Journal Article.  7402 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Geophysics

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