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INVESTIGATION OF PAST FUTURE EUROPEAN SEA LEVEL CHANGES AND THEIR IMPACTS

Objective



THE DIRECT BENEFITS TO BE EXPECTED FROM THIS RESEARCH INCLUDE :1) DATASETS, ANALYSIS REPORTS AND ATLASES OF EUROPEAN MEAN SEA LEVEL AND ASSOCIATED DATA WHICH WILL PROVIDE A FOUNDATION FOR CONTINUING STUDY.2) PUBLISHED RESEARCH IN SCIENTIFIC JOURNALS ADDRESSING THE MANY SCIENTIFIC OBJECTIVES LISTED ABOVE.3) A BOOK, DESCRIBING THE STATUS OF RESEARCH INTO THE MECHANISMS AND IMPACTS OF CHANGING EUROPEAN SEA LEVELS.4) THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A NETWORK OF EUROPEAN RESEARCH INSTITUTIONS INTERESTED IN THE MANY ASPECTS OF MEAN SEA LEVEL CHANGES.
CRU WILL CONTRIBUTE TO PARTS 3 AND 4. IN PART 3.1, A REVIEW OF FUTURE GLOBAL MEAN SEA LEVEL (MSL) ESTIMATES WILL BE CONDUCTED. ADDITIONAL ANALYSES WILL BE CARRIED OUT BY DEVELOPING A TRANSIENT-RESPONSE CLIMATE MODEL THAT WILL PRODUCE MSL CHANGES IN RESPONSE TO EXTERNAL FORCINGS SUCH AS CO2. THIS ASPECT OF THE WORK WILL CONCENTRATE ON THE THERMAL RESPONSE OF THE OCEAN AND THE SUBSEQUENT EFFECT ON MSL THROUGH THERMAL EXPANSION. THE MODEL WILL TAKE INTO ACCOUNT THE THERMAL EFFECTS OF UPWELLING OF COLD WATER FROM THE DEEP OCEAN LAYERS, A FACTOR GENERALLY NEGLECTED IN EXISTING ESTIMATES OF GLOBAL MSL RISE. THIS WORK SHOULD YIELD VALUABLE INFORMATION ABOUT FUTURE CLIMATE CHANGES AS WELL AS MSL CHANGES.
IN ORDER TO ESTIMATE FUTURE EUROPEAN MSLS, THE VARIOUS CAUSES OF PAST CHANGES IN GLOBAL, REGIONAL AND LOCAL SEA LEVELS WILL BE DIFFERENTIATED USING PAST CLIMATE AND SEA LEVEL DATA AVAILABLE FROM PARTS 1 AND 2 OF THIS PROPOSAL. ONCE THIS IS ACCOMPLISHED, THE REGIONAL AND LOCAL TRENDS CAN BE JUDICIOUSLY EXTRAPOLATED INTO THE FUTURE AND ADDED TO THE GLOBAL MSL PREDICTIONS IN ORDER TO ESTIMATE FUTURE EUROPEAN SEA LEVELS.
THE CRU WILL INVESTIGATE THE EFFECT OF CHANGES IN CLIMATE AND SEA LEVEL ON THE FREQUENCY AND MAGNITUDE OF EXTREME TIDE LEVELS AND STORM SURGES. BASELINE FREQUENCY DISTRIBUTIONS OF STORM SURGE HEIGHTS WITH CURRENT SEA LEVEL WILL BE DERIVED PARTLY THROUGH STATISTICAL ANALYSES OF OBSERVED STORM SURGE DATA, AND PARTLY THROUGH THE USE OF A PHYSICAL STORM SURGE MODEL FOR THE NORTH SEA DEVELOPED BY THE POL. THE POL MODEL WILL BE USED TO SIMULATE THE EXTREME VALUES AND THE METEOROLOGICAL CONDITIONS RESPONSIBLE FOR THEM WHICH CANNOT BE OBTAINED FROM EMPIRICAL ANALYSES. SCENARIOS OF SEA LEVEL RISE WOULD THEN BE APPLIED AND NEW FREQUENCY DISTRIBUTIONS DERIVED AND COMPARED WITH BASELINE RESULTS IN ORDER TO ASCERTAIN THE SENSITIVITY OF THE FREQUENCY OF THE EXTREME EVENTS TO CHANGES IN MSL.
IN PART 4, CRU HAS THREE RELATED OBJECTIVES : 1) TO DEVELOP THE METHODS FOR IDENTIFYING THE "PRESSURE POINTS" ALONG THE EUROPEAN COASTLINE WHERE FUTURE SEA LEVEL RISE IS LIKELY TO HAVE SIGNIFICANT IMPACT; 2) TO DEVELOP THE METHODS FOR IDENTIFYING THE GEOGRAPHIC COMBINATIONS OF SPECIFIC ADVERSE EFFECTS (E.G. SALINIZATION) AND THE PARTICULAR CATEGORIES OF SOCIO-ECONOMIC AND NATURAL SYSTEMS (E.G. HUMAN POPULATIONS, WETLAND ECOSYSTEMS) THAT ARE LIKELY TO BE AFFECTED; AND 3) TO SELECT SEVERAL CRITICAL LOCATIONS FOR CASE STUDIES.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts

Coordinator

University of East Anglia
Address
University Plain
NR4 7TJ Norwich
United Kingdom

Participants (6)

CNRS
NERC.INST OF OCEANOGRAPHIC SCIENCES
RIJKSWATERSTAAT
UNIV DI NAPOLI
UNIVERSITY OF CORK
UNIVERSITY OF DURHAM