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Ocean Science An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 10, issue 4 | Copyright
Ocean Sci., 10, 701-718, 2014
https://doi.org/10.5194/os-10-701-2014
© Author(s) 2014. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 11 Aug 2014

Research article | 11 Aug 2014

Weighing the ocean with bottom-pressure sensors: robustness of the ocean mass annual cycle estimate

Joanne Williams1, C. W. Hughes1,2, M. E. Tamisiea1, and S. D. P. Williams1 Joanne Williams et al.
  • 1National Oceanography Centre, Joseph Proudman Building, 6 Brownlow St, Liverpool L3 5DA, UK
  • 2School of Environmental Sciences, University of Liverpool, Liverpool L69 3GP, UK

Abstract. We use ocean bottom-pressure measurements from 17 tropical sites to determine the annual cycle of ocean mass. We show that such a calculation is robust, and use three methods to estimate errors in the mass determination. Our final best estimate, using data from the best sites and two ocean models, is that the annual cycle has an amplitude of 0.85 mbar (equivalent to 8.4 mm of sea level, or 3100 Gt of water), with a 95% chance of lying within the range 0.61–1.17 mbar. The time of the peak in ocean mass is 10 October, with 95% chance of occurring between 21 September and 25 October. The simultaneous fitting of annual ocean mass also improves the fitting of bottom-pressure instrument drift.

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