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J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2017, 5(2), 21; doi:10.3390/jmse5020021

The Impact of Uncertainties in Ice Sheet Dynamics on Sea-Level Allowances at Tide Gauge Locations

1
Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ), Department of Estuarine and Delta Systems (EDS), Utrecht University, Korringaweg 7, Yerseke 4401 NT, The Netherlands
2
Institute for Marine and Atmospheric research Utrecht (IMAU), Princetonplein 5, Utrecht 3584 CC, The Netherlands
3
Department of Physical Geography, Utrecht University, Heidelberglaan 2, Utrecht 3584 CS, The Netherlands
4
Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre, 20 Castray Esplanade, Hobart TAS 7000, Australia
5
National Oceanography Centre, 6 Brownlow Street, Liverpool L3 5DA, UK
6
School of Environment, Earth & Ecosystem Sciences, Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics, The Open University, Milton Keynes MK7 6AA, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Thomas Wahl, Jan Even Øie Nilsen, Ivan Haigh and Sally Brown
Received: 10 March 2017 / Revised: 12 May 2017 / Accepted: 16 May 2017 / Published: 23 May 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Coastal Sea Levels, Impacts and Adaptation)
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Abstract

Sea level is projected to rise in the coming centuries as a result of a changing climate. One of the major uncertainties is the projected contribution of the ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica to sea-level rise (SLR). Here, we study the impact of different shapes of uncertainty distributions of the ice sheets on so-called sea-level allowances. An allowance indicates the height a coastal structure needs to be elevated to keep the same frequency and likelihood of sea-level extremes under a projected amount of mean SLR. Allowances are always larger than the projected SLR. Their magnitude depends on several factors, such as projection uncertainty and the typical variability of the extreme events at a location. Our results show that allowances increase significantly for ice sheet dynamics’ uncertainty distributions that are more skewed (more than twice, compared to Gaussian uncertainty distributions), due to the increased probability of a much larger ice sheet contribution to SLR. The allowances are largest in regions where a relatively small observed variability in the extremes is paired with relatively large magnitude and/or large uncertainty in the projected SLR, typically around the equator. Under the RCP8.5 (Representative Concentration Pathway) projections of SLR, the likelihood of extremes increases more than a factor 10 4 at more than 50–87% of the tide gauges. View Full-Text
Keywords: sea-level rise; allowances; sea-level extremes sea-level rise; allowances; sea-level extremes
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Slangen, A.B.A.; van de Wal, R.S.W.; Reerink, T.J.; de Winter, R.C.; Hunter, J.R.; Woodworth, P.L.; Edwards, T. The Impact of Uncertainties in Ice Sheet Dynamics on Sea-Level Allowances at Tide Gauge Locations. J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2017, 5, 21.

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