Title Spatial variability of sea level rise due to water impoundment behind dams
Author Fiedler, J.W.; Conrad, C.P.
Author Affil Fiedler, J.W., University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Oceanography, Honolulu, HI
Source Geophysical Research Letters, 37(12), Citation L12603. Publisher: American Geophysical Union, Washington, DC, United States. ISSN: 0094-8276
Publication Date 2010
Notes In English. 24 refs. GeoRef Acc. No: 310426
Index Terms dams; geodesy; glacial geology; glaciers; ice; ice sheets; melting; meltwater; leakage; Greenland; Arctic region; discharge; geoid; impoundment; levels; sea- level changes; seepage; spatial distribution; world ocean
Abstract Dams have impounded ~10,800 km3 of water since 1900, reducing global sea level by ~30.0 mm and decreasing the rate of sea level rise. The load from impounded water depresses the earth's surface near dams and elevates the geoid, which locally increases relative sea level (RSL). We computed patterns of dam-induced RSL change globally, and estimated that tide gauges, which are often close to dams, recorded only ~60% of the global average sea level drop due to reservoir building. Thus, RSL in the globally averaged ocean rose ~0.2 mm/yr more slowly than has been recorded by tide gauges, or ~10% slower than the measured rise rate of 1.5-2.0 mm/yr. Relative proximity to dams caused RSL to rise fastest in northeastern North America and slowest in the Pacific. This dam-induced spatial variability may mask the sea level "fingerprint" of melting sources, especially northern (Greenland) sources of glacial unloading.
URL http://hdl.handle.net/10.1029/2010GL043462
Publication Type journal article
Record ID 65007171