Articles | Volume 11, issue 3
Earth Syst. Sci. Data, 11, 1189–1202, 2019
Earth Syst. Sci. Data, 11, 1189–1202, 2019

Data description paper 07 Aug 2019

Data description paper | 07 Aug 2019

Uncertainty in satellite estimates of global mean sea-level changes, trend and acceleration

Michaël Ablain et al.

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Cited articles

Ablain, M.: The TOPEX-A Drift and Impacts on GMSL Time Series, available at:, Miami, US (October, 2017), available at: (last access: 8 November 2018), 2017. 
Ablain, M., Cazenave, A., Valladeau, G., and Guinehut, S.: A new assessment of the error budget of global mean sea level rate estimated by satellite altimetry over 1993–2008, Ocean Sci., 5, 193–201,, 2009. 
Ablain, M., Philipps, S., Urvoy, M., Tran, N., and Picot, N.: Detection of Long-Term Instabilities on Altimeter Backscatter Coefficient Thanks to Wind Speed Data Comparisons from Altimeters and Models, Mar. Geod., 35 (Suppl. 1), 258–275,, 2012. 
Ablain, M., Cazenave, A., Larnicol, G., Balmaseda, M., Cipollini, P., Faugère, Y., Fernandes, M. J., Henry, O., Johannessen, J. A., Knudsen, P., Andersen, O., Legeais, J., Meyssignac, B., Picot, N., Roca, M., Rudenko, S., Scharffenberg, M. G., Stammer, D., Timms, G., and Benveniste, J.: Improved sea level record over the satellite altimetry era (1993–2010) from the Climate Change Initiative project, Ocean Sci., 11, 67–82,, 2015. 
Ablain, M., Legeais, J. F., Prandi, P., Marcos, M., Fenoglio-Marc, L., Dieng, H. B., Benveniste, J., and Cazenave, A.: Satellite Altimetry-Based Sea Level at Global and Regional Scales, Surv. Geophys., 38, 7–31,, 2017. 
Short summary
A description of the uncertainties in the Global Mean Sea Level (GMSL) record has been performed; 25 years of satellite altimetry data were used to estimate the error variance–covariance matrix for the GMSL record to derive its confidence envelope. Then a least square approach was used to estimate the GMSL trend and acceleration uncertainties over any time periods. A GMSL trend of 3.35 ± 0.4 mm/yr and a GMSL acceleration of 0.12 ± 0.07 mm/yr² have been found within a 90 % confidence level.