Articles | Volume 10, issue 2
01 Feb 2010
 | 01 Feb 2010

On analysing sea level rise in the German Bight since 1844

T. Wahl, J. Jensen, and T. Frank

Abstract. In this paper, a methodology to analyse observed sea level rise (SLR) in the German Bight, the shallow south-eastern part of the North Sea, is presented. The paper focuses on the description of the methods used to generate and analyse mean sea level (MSL) time series. Parametric fitting approaches as well as non-parametric data adaptive filters, such as Singular System Analysis (SSA) are applied. For padding non-stationary sea level time series, an advanced approach named Monte-Carlo autoregressive padding (MCAP) is introduced. This approach allows the specification of uncertainties of the behaviour of smoothed time series near the boundaries. As an example, the paper includes the results from analysing the sea level records of the Cuxhaven tide gauge and the Heligoland tide gauge, both located in the south-eastern North Sea. For comparison, the results from analysing a worldwide sea level reconstruction are also presented. The results for the North Sea point to a weak negative acceleration of SLR since 1844 with a strong positive acceleration at the end of the 19th century, to a period of almost no SLR around the 1970s with subsequent positive acceleration and to high recent rates.