The seasonal response of sea level in San Francisco Bay (SFB) to atmospheric forcing during 1980 is investigated. The relations between sea-level data from the Northern Reach, Central Bay and South Bay, and forcing by local wind stresses, sea level pressure (SLP), runoff and the large scale sea level pressure field are examined in detail. The analyses show that the sea-level elevations and slopes respond to the along-shore wind stress T(V) at most times of the year, and to the cross-shore wind stress T(N) during two transition periods in spring and autumn. River runoff raises the sea-level elevation during winter. It is shown that winter precipitation in the SFB area is mainly attributed to the atmospheric circulation associated with the Alcutian Low, which transports the warm, moist air into the Bay area. A multiple linear regression model is employed to estimate the independent contributions of barometric pressure and wind stress to adjusted sea level. These calculations have a simple dynamical interpretation which confirms the importance of along-shore wind to both sea level and north-south slope within the Bay.
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Seasonal Sea-Level Variations in San Francisco Bay in Response to Atmospheric Forcing, 1980