Coastal Sea Level Monitoring in the Mediterranean and Black Seas

An international team of scientists published a paper presenting an overview of existing infrastructure to monitor sea level in the Mediterranean and Black seas. These stations are essential to monitor and study sea level variations that pose a hazard in these basins, such as storm surges, tsunamis, meteotsunamis and sea level rise, This study delivers an “insight into the status of the in situ sea level network in both basins and confirms several challenging aspects such as the diversity of national strategies, sea level technology, funding or data availability, often linked to differences on the primary and evolving objectives of these installations, and their unbalanced spatial distribution”.

Abstract: Spanning over a century, a traditional way to monitor sea level variability by tide gauges is – in combination with modern observational techniques like satellite altimetry – an inevitable ingredient in sea level studies over the climate scales and in coastal seas. The development of the instrumentation, remote data acquisition, processing and archiving in last decades allowed for extending the applications towards a variety of users and coastal hazard managers. The Mediterranean and Black seas are an example for such a transition – while having a long tradition for sea level observations with several records spanning over a century, the number of modern tide gauge stations are growing rapidly, with data available both in real-time and as a research product at different time resolutions. As no comprehensive survey of the tide gauge networks has been carried out recently in these basins, the aim of this paper is to map the existing coastal sea level monitoring infrastructures and the respective data availability. The survey encompasses description of major monitoring networks in the Mediterranean and Black seas and their characteristics, including the type of sea level sensors, measuring resolutions, data availability and existence of ancillary measurements, altogether collecting information about 236 presently operational tide gauge stations. The availability of the Mediterranean and Black seas sea level data in the global and European sea level repositories has been also screened and classified following their sampling interval and level of quality-check, pointing to the necessity of harmonization of the data available with different metadata and series at different repositories. Finally, an assessment of the networks’ capabilities for their usage in different sea level applications has been done, with recommendations that might mitigate the bottlenecks and assure further development of the networks in a coordinated way, being that more necessary in the era of the human-induced climate changes and the sea level rise.

Pérez Gómez, B., Vilibić, I., Šepić, J., Međugorac, I., Ličer, M., Testut, L., … & Zodiatis, G. (2022). Coastal sea level monitoring in the Mediterranean and Black Seas. Ocean Science Discussions, 1-80. Go to article

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