Title: Extreme sea levels on the rise along Europe’s coasts
Citation: EARTHS FUTURE vol. 5 no. 3 p. 304-323
Publication Year: 2017
JRC N°: JRC103278
ISSN: 2328-4277
URI: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2016EF000505/abstract
DOI: 10.1002/2016EF000505
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: Future extreme sea levels (ESLs) and flood risk along European coasts will be strongly impacted by global warming. Yet, comprehensive projections of ESL that include mean sea level (MSL), tides, waves and storm surges do not exist. Here we show changes in all components of ESL until 2100 in view of climate change. We find that by the end of this century the 100-year event ESL along Europe’s coastlines will on average increase by 57 cm for RCP4.5 and 81 cm for RCP8.5. The North Sea region will face the highest increase in ESLs, amounting to nearly 1 m under RCP8.5 by 2100, followed by the Baltic Sea and Atlantic coasts of the UK and Ireland. Relative Sea Level Rise (RSLR) is the main driver of the projected rise in ESL, with increasing dominance towards the end of the century and for the high-concentration pathway. Changes in storm surges and waves enhance the effects of RSLR along the majority of northern European coasts, locally with contributions up to 40%. In southern Europe, episodic extreme events tend to stay stable, except along the Portuguese coast and the Gulf of Cadiz where reductions in surge and wave extremes offset RSLR by 20-30%. By the end of this century, 5 million Europeans currently under threat of a 100-year ESL could be annually at risk from coastal flooding.
JRC Directorate:Space, Security and Migration

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