Schmith, T.; Thejll, P., and Nielsen, J.W., 2016. Discussion of: Hansen, J. M., Aagaard, T. and Kuijpers, A., 2015. Sea-level forcing by synchronization of 56- and 74-year oscillations with the Moon's nodal tide on the northwest European shelf (eastern North Sea to central Baltic Sea). Journal of Coastal Research, 31(5), 1041–1056.
We criticize important aspects of the analysis presented in Hansen, Aagaard, and Kuijpers (2015) (hereafter “HAK”) and thereby cast doubt on their conclusions. HAK claim that 18.6-year variations in sea level are supported by tidal theory, but this is not the case; therefore, the existence of such variations must be explicitly shown. We calculated the amplitude spectrum of the annual sea level by harmonic analysis and found no significant peaks at the periods claimed by HAK. Next, we used results given by HAK to reconstruct their decomposition and formed the residuals by subtracting the decomposition from the original data. We found that the variability near 18.6 years is present in the residuals, showing that the decomposition by HAK does not describe this variability. This motivated us to redo HAK's analysis, and we found a seven times lower amplitude for the 18.6-year periodicity than claimed by HAK. Finally, we discuss HAK's mode selection criteria, based on correlation coefficients of trending series, and find them invalid. Therefore, we performed a significance test based on a Monte Carlo technique and conclude that none of the modes identified by HAK are statistically significant.