EGU22-2190, updated on 20 Feb 2024
EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2024. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Investigating global and regional sea level budgets by combining GRACE(-FO) and altimetry data in a joint fingerprint inversion

Bernd Uebbing1, Roelof Rietbroek2, and Jürgen Kusche1
Bernd Uebbing et al.
  • 1University of Bonn, Institue of Geodesy and Geoinformation, APMG, Bonn, Germany (
  • 2Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC), Department of Water Resources (WRS), University of Twente, Twente, Netherlands

Sea level change affects hundreds of millions of people living in coastal regions. In addition to measuring the total sea level change via satellite altimetry, it is important to understand individual mass and steric contributors on global and regional scales. Consequently, deriving accurate global and regional sea level budgets is of key interest for understanding the underlying processes and aid in assessing future impacts of sea level rise. Furthermore, steric sea level change is related to the Earth’s Energy Imbalance and thus a key indicator of global warming.

The global fingerprint inversion method (Rietbroek et al., 2016) allows to combine GRACE(-FO) gravity measurements and along-track satellite altimetry observations in order to jointly estimate the individual mass and steric changes in a consistent manner. We use an extended fingerprint approach which allows further separation of the ocean mass variations into contributions from the melting of land glaciers and the Greenland and Antarctic ice-sheets as well as terrestrial hydrology effects and changes of the internal mass transport within the ocean. Furthermore, the updated inversion presented here, aims at splitting the steric sea level change into contributions of the upper 700m and the deeper ocean.

Here, we present the inversion results of a closed global sea level budget (within 0.1 mm/yr) during the GRACE era (2002-04 till 2015-12) attributing 1.68 mm/yr and 1.40 mm/yr to ocean mass and steric changes, respectively. Compared to state-of-the art studies the steric contribution is found to be in line while the mass estimates are slightly lower. We provide budgets for major ocean basins and compare our results to individually processed GRACE, altimetry and ocean re-analysis datasets as well as published estimates. Furthermore, we will show preliminary results when extending the inversion to incorporate additional GRACE-FO data. Finally, we extent our investigations to regional sea level budgets for selected regions of interest, such as the Bay of Bengal or the North Sea, which are dominated by completely different sea level components.

How to cite: Uebbing, B., Rietbroek, R., and Kusche, J.: Investigating global and regional sea level budgets by combining GRACE(-FO) and altimetry data in a joint fingerprint inversion, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-2190,, 2022.