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Sea-level change due to climate change

Objective

Sea-level rise as a consequence of climate change will have severe impacts on coastal populations and ecosystems. However, owing to the incomplete state of scientific knowledge, there is a large range of uncertainty in the predictions, of a factor of more than two for any given emissions scenario during the 21st century, and much larger for subsequent centuries. This is a serious obstacle to the assessment of impacts. Sea-level change is a diagnostic of a complex combination of Earth system processes operating over a wide range of timescales. Explaining the record of past sea-level change and predicting the future is therefore a fascinating interdisciplinary scientific challenge as well as one with practical implications. The aim of this project is to improve quantitative understanding and hence reduce uncertainty in predictive models of the two main climate-related contributions to sea-level change, namely ocean density change and changes in ice-sheets. The former is the most important term on timescales of years to centuries, and the latter is the principal influence over timescales of centuries to millennia. In both parts of the proposal, our focus is on analysis of changes simulated by 3D atmosphere-ocean climate models, which we compare with observational data. For ocean density change, the objectives are to analyse the physical processes responsible for global-mean and local sea-level change due to density change, in order to quantify and constrain the uncertainties in predictions. For ice-sheets, the objectives are to increase our understanding of and ability to model the coupled evolution of ice-sheets and climate on multi-millennial timescales, in particular regarding the last glacial cycle and the long-term future of the Greenland ice-sheet.

Field of science

  • /natural sciences/earth and related environmental sciences/atmospheric sciences/climatology/climatic changes

Call for proposal

ERC-2009-AdG
See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

ERC-AG - ERC Advanced Grant

Host institution

THE UNIVERSITY OF READING
Address
Whiteknights Campus Whiteknights House
RG6 6AH Reading
United Kingdom
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 1 441 719
Principal investigator
Jonathan Michael Gregory (Prof.)
Administrative Contact
Tom Reynolds (Mr.)

Beneficiaries (1)

THE UNIVERSITY OF READING
United Kingdom
EU contribution
€ 1 441 719
Address
Whiteknights Campus Whiteknights House
RG6 6AH Reading
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Principal investigator
Jonathan Michael Gregory (Prof.)
Administrative Contact
Tom Reynolds (Mr.)