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Ocean Science An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 14, issue 5 | Copyright
Ocean Sci., 14, 959-970, 2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 10 Sep 2018

Research article | 10 Sep 2018

Reconstruction of sea level around the Korean Peninsula using cyclostationary empirical orthogonal functions

Se-Hyeon Cheon1, Benjamin D. Hamlington1, and Kyung-Duck Suh2 Se-Hyeon Cheon et al.
  • 1Department of Ocean, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA, USA
  • 2Institute of Construction and Environmental Engineering, Seoul National University, Seoul, South Korea

Abstract. Since the advent of the modern satellite altimeter era, the understanding of the sea level has increased dramatically. The satellite altimeter record, however, dates back only to the 1990s. The tide gauge record, on the other hand, extends through the 20th century but with poor spatial coverage when compared to the satellites. Many studies have been conducted to create a dataset with the spatial coverage of the satellite datasets and the temporal length of the tide gauge records by finding novel ways to combine the satellite data and tide gauge data in what is known as sea level reconstruction. However, most of the reconstructions of sea level were conducted on a global scale, leading to reduced accuracy on regional levels, especially when there are relatively few tide gauges. The seas around the Korean Peninsula are one such area with few tide gauges before 1960. In this study, new methods are proposed to reconstruct past sea level around the Korean Peninsula. Using spatial patterns obtained from a cyclostationary empirical orthogonal function decomposition of satellite data, we reconstruct sea level over the period from 1900 to 2014. Sea surface temperature data and altimeter data are used simultaneously in the reconstruction process, leading to an elimination of reliance on tide gauge data. Although we did not use the tide gauge data in the reconstruction process, the reconstructed sea level has a better agreement with the tide gauge observations in the region than previous studies that incorporated the tide gauge data. This study demonstrates a reconstruction technique that can potentially be used at regional levels, with particular emphasis on areas with poor tide gauge coverage.

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Short summary
In South Korea, over 27 % of the population of 75 million live in coastal city areas. Despite the potential threat of sea level rise, there is little knowledge of how sea level has varied in the past and how those variations compare to present day sea level rise. In this study, new methods are proposed to improve the understanding of past sea level around the Korean Peninsula. The degree to which this understanding can inform policy makers about future sea level rise is also explored.
In South Korea, over 27 % of the population of 75 million live in coastal city areas. Despite...