Title: Projections of extreme storm surge levels along Europe
Citation: CLIMATE DYNAMICS vol. 47 no. 9 p. 3171–3190
Publisher: SPRINGER
Publication Year: 2016
JRC N°: JRC96886
ISSN: 0930-7575
URI: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00382-016-3019-5
DOI: 10.1007/s00382-016-3019-5
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: Storm surges are an important coastal hazard component and it is unknown how they will evolve along Europe's coastline in view of climate change. In the present contribution, the hydrodynamic model Delft3D-Flow was forced by wind velocity and atmospheric pressure fields from a 6-member climate model ensemble in order to evaluate dynamics in storm surge levels (SSL) along the European coastline (i) for the baseline period 1970-2000; and (ii) during this century under the Representative Concentration Pathways RCP4.5 and RCP8.5. Validation simulations, spanning from 2008 to 2014 and driven by ERA-Interim atmospheric forcing, indicated good predictive skill (0.06 m<RMSE<0.29 m and 10%<RMSE<29% for 110 tidal gauge stations across Europe). Peak-Over-Threshold extreme value analysis was applied to estimate SSL values for different return periods, and changes of future SSL were obtained from all models to obtain the final ensemble. Values for most scenarios and return periods indicate a projected increase in SSL along the North European coastline, which is more prominent for RCP8.5 and shows an increasing tendency towards the end of the century for both RCP4.5 and RCP8.5. Projected SSL changes along the European coastal areas south of 50o N show minimal change or even a small decrease, with the exception of RCP8.5 under which a moderate increase is projected towards the end of the century. The present findings indicate that for many European regions the projected increase in extreme SSL is comparable to the projected relative sea level rise, especially for the high return periods and pathway RCP8.5. This implies that the combined effect could have devastating consequences for specific areas and highlights the necessity for timely coastal adaptation and protection measures. The dataset is available through an open access policy.
JRC Directorate:Space, Security and Migration

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