The dynamics of weather-band sea level variations in the Red Sea

James H. Churchill, Yasser Abualnaja, Richard Limeburner, Mohammedali Nellayaputhenpeedika

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The variations of sea level over the Red Sea may be divided into three broad categories: tidal, seasonal and weather-band. Our study employs a variety of in situ and satellite-derived data in the first comprehensive examination of the Red Sea water level variations in the weather-band (covering periods of [Formula presented] 4–30 days). In the central Red Sea, the range of the weather-band sea level signal is of order 0.7 m, which exceeds the tidal and seasonal sea level ranges. From EOF and correlation analysis, we find that a large fraction of the weather-band sea level variation is due to a single mode of motion that extends over the entire Red Sea. In this mode, the water level rises and falls in unison with an amplitude that declines going southward over the southern Red Sea. The temporal signal of this mode is highly correlated with the along-axis surface wind stress over the southern Red Sea, and is closely reproduced by a simple one-dimensional barotropic model with forcing by the along-axis wind stress. Although this model does not account for the full suite of dynamics affecting weather-band sea level variations in the Red Sea, it may serve as a useful predictive tool. Sea level changes associated with the development and movement of sub-mesoscale features (e.g., eddies and boundary currents) are also shown to contribute to weather-band sea level motions in the Red Sea.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)336-342
Number of pages7
JournalRegional Studies in Marine Science
StatePublished - Sep 27 2018


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