Special Issue "Coastal Sea Levels, Impacts and Adaptation"

A special issue of Journal of Marine Science and Engineering (ISSN 2077-1312).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 May 2017)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Thomas Wahl

Department of Civil, Environmental and Construction Engineering and Coastal Sustainable Systems Cluster, University of Central Florida, USA
Engineering and the Environment, University of Southampton, UK
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +1 (407) 823-4534
Interests: changes in sea level, storm surges, ocean waves, precipitation, and river discharges; (coastal-)engineering design concepts; extreme value analysis; climate adaptation and resilience; integrated coastal vulnerability and risk assessment; stochastic and numerical modelling of tides, storm surges, waves, and river flows; multi hazards; coastal processes and hydrodynamics
Guest Editor
Dr. Jan Even Øie Nilsen

Ocean and Coastal Remote Sensing, Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Centre, Norway
Website | E-Mail
Interests: physical oceanography; sea level change; sea level variability; sea level projections and predictions; steric and dynamic contribution to sea level variability and change; climatic processes in the Atlantic, Nordic, and Arctic Seas; water mass transformation and deep water formation; thermohaline circulation; large scale circulation; large scale forcing
Guest Editor
Dr. Ivan Haigh

Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre Southampton at the University of Southampton, UK
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +44 (023) 8059 6501
Interests: sea level, storm surges, extreme events, coastal flooding, extreme value analysis; local, regional and global scales; flood and erosion risk-based management and planning; process based numerical modelling
Guest Editor
Dr. Sally Brown

Engineering and the Environment and Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, University of Southampton, UK
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +44 (023) 8059 4796
Interests: impacts of sea-level rise; adaptation; risk; geomorphology; flooding; erosion; shoreline management; ports; deltas; small islands

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Extreme sea levels can lead to hazardous events—such as coastal flooding, erosion, or salt water intrusion—with wide ranging environmental, societal and economic consequences. In combination with climate-driven sea-level rise, and, potentially, additional changes in storminess, dynamic wave contributions, or tidal dynamics, the adverse consequences of extreme oceanographic events are in many regions projected to escalate. Integrated coastal zone impact assessments can guide decisions on adaptive response to these changes in the physical environment and socio-economic development. To achieve this, we require:

  • An improved understanding from observations and modelling studies of the processes involved in driving regional and local mean sea level changes at different time scales.
  • Robust projections and the inherent uncertainties (including upper-tail risks) of regional and local mean level changes over the next few decades and longer time scales.
  • Accurate estimates of present-day extreme sea levels (and associated uncertainties) and potential future changes in storminess adding to trends and variability in mean sea level.
  • Models capable of simulating impacts from sea-level change and extremes, such as flooding, erosion, or ecosystem degradation, taking into account socio-economic change and adaptation.
  • Co-designed projects and cross-disciplinary collaboration between engineers, natural, social, and economic scientists, stakeholders, and policy makers.

For this Special Issue we invite contributions that address one or more of the above topics from a natural science, engineering, or socio-economic perspective.

Dr. Thomas Wahl
Dr. Jan Even Øie Nilsen
Dr. Ivan Haigh
Dr Sally Brown
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Journal of Marine Science and Engineering is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 350 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

 

 

Keywords

  • mean sea level rise and variability
  • storm surges, waves, tides
  • extreme value analysis
  • coastal vulnerability and impacts
  • risk management
  • governance and socio-economic change

Published Papers (12 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Cost and Materials Required to Retrofit US Seaports in Response to Sea Level Rise: A Thought Exercise for Climate Response
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2017, 5(3), 44; doi:10.3390/jmse5030044
Received: 27 April 2017 / Revised: 1 September 2017 / Accepted: 4 September 2017 / Published: 14 September 2017
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Abstract
Climate changes projected for 2100 and beyond could result in a worldwide race for adaptation resources on a scale never seen before. This paper describes a model for estimating the cost and materials of elevating coastal seaport infrastructure in the United States to
[...] Read more.
Climate changes projected for 2100 and beyond could result in a worldwide race for adaptation resources on a scale never seen before. This paper describes a model for estimating the cost and materials of elevating coastal seaport infrastructure in the United States to prevent damage from sea level rise associated with climate change. This study pilots the use of a generic port model (GenPort) as a basis from which to estimate regional materials and monetary demands, resulting in projections that would be infeasible to calculate on an individual port-by-port basis. We estimate the combined cost of adding two meters of additional fill material to elevate the working surface and then reconstructing the generic port. We use the resulting unit area cost to develop an estimate to elevate and retrofit 100 major United States commercial coastal ports. A total of $57 billion to $78 billion (2012 US dollars) and 704 million cubic meters of fill would be required to elevate the 100 ports by two meters and to reconstruct associated infrastructure. This estimation method and the results serve as a thought exercise to provoke considerations of the cumulative monetary and material demands of widespread adaptations of seaport infrastructure. The model can be adapted for use in multiple infrastructure sectors and coastal managers can use the outlined considerations as a basis for individual port adaptation strategy assessments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Coastal Sea Levels, Impacts and Adaptation)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Impact of North Atlantic Teleconnection Patterns on Northern European Sea Level
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2017, 5(3), 43; doi:10.3390/jmse5030043
Received: 31 May 2017 / Revised: 4 August 2017 / Accepted: 30 August 2017 / Published: 6 September 2017
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Abstract
Northern European sea levels show a non-stationary link to the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). The location of the centers of the NAO dipole, however, can be affected through the interplay with the East Atlantic (EAP) and the Scandinavian (SCAN) teleconnection patterns. Our results
[...] Read more.
Northern European sea levels show a non-stationary link to the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). The location of the centers of the NAO dipole, however, can be affected through the interplay with the East Atlantic (EAP) and the Scandinavian (SCAN) teleconnection patterns. Our results indicate the importance of accounting for the binary combination of the NAO with the EAP/SCAN for better understanding the non-stationary drivers inducing sea level variations along the European coasts. By combining altimetry and tide gauges, we find that anomalously high monthly sea levels along the Norwegian (North Sea) coast are predominantly governed by same positive phase NAO+/EAP+ (NAO+/SCAN+) type of atmospheric circulation, while the Newlyn and Brest tide gauges respond markedly to the opposite phase NAO−/EAP+ combination. Despite these regional differences, we find that coherent European sea level changes project onto a pattern resembling NAO+/SCAN+, which is signified by pressure anomalies over Scandinavia and southern Europe forcing winds to trace the continental slope, resulting in a pile-up of water along the European coasts through Ekman transport. We conclude that taking into consideration the interaction between these atmospheric circulation regimes is valuable and may help to understand the time-varying relationship between the NAO and European mean sea level. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Coastal Sea Levels, Impacts and Adaptation)
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Open AccessArticle Choosing a Future Shoreline for the San Francisco Bay: Strategic Coastal Adaptation Insights from Cost Estimation
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2017, 5(3), 42; doi:10.3390/jmse5030042
Received: 31 May 2017 / Revised: 24 August 2017 / Accepted: 26 August 2017 / Published: 4 September 2017
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Abstract
In metropolitan regions made up of multiple independent jurisdictions, adaptation to increased coastal flooding due to sea level rise requires coordinated strategic planning of the physical and organizational approaches to be adopted. Here, we explore a flexible method for estimating physical adaptation costs
[...] Read more.
In metropolitan regions made up of multiple independent jurisdictions, adaptation to increased coastal flooding due to sea level rise requires coordinated strategic planning of the physical and organizational approaches to be adopted. Here, we explore a flexible method for estimating physical adaptation costs along the San Francisco Bay shoreline. Our goal is to identify uncertainties that can hinder cooperation and decision-making. We categorized shoreline data, estimated the height of exceedance for sea level rise scenarios, and developed a set of unit costs for raising current infrastructure to meet future water levels. Using these cost estimates, we explored critical strategic planning questions, including shoreline positions, design heights, and infrastructure types. For shoreline position, we found that while the shortest line is in fact the least costly, building the future shoreline at today’s transition from saltwater to freshwater vegetation is similar in cost but allows for the added possibility of conserving saltwater wetlands. Regulations requiring a specific infrastructure design height above the water level had a large impact on physical construction costs, increasing them by as much as 200%. Finally, our results show that the costs of raising existing walls may represent 70% to 90% of the total regional costs, suggesting that a shift to earthen terraces and levees will reduce adaptation costs significantly. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Coastal Sea Levels, Impacts and Adaptation)
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Open AccessArticle Applying Principles of Uncertainty within Coastal Hazard Assessments to Better Support Coastal Adaptation
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2017, 5(3), 40; doi:10.3390/jmse5030040
Received: 30 May 2017 / Revised: 14 August 2017 / Accepted: 24 August 2017 / Published: 29 August 2017
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Abstract
Coastal hazards result from erosion of the shore, or flooding of low-elevation land when storm surges combine with high tides and/or large waves. Future sea-level rise will greatly increase the frequency and depth of coastal flooding and will exacerbate erosion and raise groundwater
[...] Read more.
Coastal hazards result from erosion of the shore, or flooding of low-elevation land when storm surges combine with high tides and/or large waves. Future sea-level rise will greatly increase the frequency and depth of coastal flooding and will exacerbate erosion and raise groundwater levels, forcing vulnerable communities to adapt. Communities, local councils and infrastructure operators will need to decide when and how to adapt. The process of decision making using adaptive pathways approaches, is now being applied internationally to plan for adaptation over time by anticipating tipping points in the future when planning objectives are no longer being met. This process requires risk and uncertainty considerations to be transparent in the scenarios used in adaptive planning. We outline a framework for uncertainty identification and management within coastal hazard assessments. The framework provides a logical flow from the land use situation, to the related level of uncertainty as determined by the situation, to which hazard scenarios to model, to the complexity level of hazard modeling required, and to the possible decision type. Traditionally, coastal flood hazard maps show inundated areas only. We present enhanced maps of flooding depth and frequency which clearly show the degree of hazard exposure, where that exposure occurs, and how the exposure changes with sea-level rise, to better inform adaptive planning processes. The new uncertainty framework and mapping techniques can better inform identification of trigger points for adaptation pathways planning and their expected time range, compared to traditional coastal flooding hazard assessments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Coastal Sea Levels, Impacts and Adaptation)
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Open AccessArticle Projected 21st Century Sea-Level Changes, Observed Sea Level Extremes, and Sea Level Allowances for Norway
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2017, 5(3), 36; doi:10.3390/jmse5030036
Received: 31 May 2017 / Revised: 3 July 2017 / Accepted: 18 July 2017 / Published: 14 August 2017
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Abstract
Changes to mean sea level and/or sea level extremes (e.g., storm surges) will lead to changes in coastal impacts. These changes represent a changing exposure or risk to our society. Here, we present 21st century sea-level projections for Norway largely based on the
[...] Read more.
Changes to mean sea level and/or sea level extremes (e.g., storm surges) will lead to changes in coastal impacts. These changes represent a changing exposure or risk to our society. Here, we present 21st century sea-level projections for Norway largely based on the Fifth Assessment Report from the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC AR5). An important component of past and present sea-level change in Norway is glacial isostatic adjustment. We therefore pay special attention to vertical land motion, which is constrained using new geodetic observations with improved spatial coverage and accuracies, and modelling work. Projected ensemble mean 21st century relative sea-level changes for Norway are, depending on location, from −0.10 to 0.30 m for emission scenario RCP2.6; 0.00 to 0.35 m for RCP 4.5; and 0.15 to 0.55 m for RCP8.5. For all RCPs, the projected ensemble mean indicates that the vast majority of the Norwegian coast will experience a rise in sea level. Norway’s official return heights for extreme sea levels are estimated using the average conditional exceedance rate (ACER) method. We adapt an approach for calculating sea level allowances for use with the ACER method. All the allowances calculated give values above the projected ensemble mean Relative Sea Level (RSL) rise, i.e., to preserve the likelihood of flooding from extreme sea levels, a height increase above the most likely RSL rise should be used in planning. We also show that the likelihood of exceeding present-day return heights will dramatically increase with sea-level rise. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Coastal Sea Levels, Impacts and Adaptation)
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Open AccessArticle Integrating Long Tide Gauge Records with Projection Modelling Outputs. A Case Study: New York
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2017, 5(3), 34; doi:10.3390/jmse5030034
Received: 23 May 2017 / Revised: 1 August 2017 / Accepted: 2 August 2017 / Published: 5 August 2017
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Abstract
Sea level rise is one of the key artefacts of a warming climate which is predicted to have profound impacts for coastal communities over the course of the 21st century and beyond. The IPCC provide regular updates (5–7 years) on the global status
[...] Read more.
Sea level rise is one of the key artefacts of a warming climate which is predicted to have profound impacts for coastal communities over the course of the 21st century and beyond. The IPCC provide regular updates (5–7 years) on the global status of the science and projections of climate change to assist guide policy, adaptation and mitigation endeavours. Increasingly sophisticated climate modelling tools are being used to underpin these processes with demand for improved resolution of modelling output products (such as predicted sea level rise) at a more localized scale. With a decade of common coverage between observational data and CMIP5 projection model outputs (2007–2016), this analysis provides an additional method by which to test the veracity of model outputs to replicate in-situ measurements using the case study site of New York. Results indicate that the mean relative velocity of the model projection products is of the order of 2.5–2.8 mm/year higher than the tide gauge results in 2016. In the event this phenomena is more spatially represented, there is a significant role for long tide gauge records to assist in evaluating climate model products to improve scientific rigour. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Coastal Sea Levels, Impacts and Adaptation)
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Open AccessArticle Sea Level Forecasts Aggregated from Established Operational Systems
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2017, 5(3), 33; doi:10.3390/jmse5030033
Received: 30 May 2017 / Revised: 22 July 2017 / Accepted: 25 July 2017 / Published: 1 August 2017
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Abstract
A system for providing routine seven-day forecasts of sea level observable at tide gauge locations is described and evaluated. Forecast time series are aggregated from well-established operational systems of the Australian Bureau of Meteorology; although following some adjustments these systems are only quasi-complimentary.
[...] Read more.
A system for providing routine seven-day forecasts of sea level observable at tide gauge locations is described and evaluated. Forecast time series are aggregated from well-established operational systems of the Australian Bureau of Meteorology; although following some adjustments these systems are only quasi-complimentary. Target applications are routine coastal decision processes under non-extreme conditions. The configuration aims to be relatively robust to operational realities such as version upgrades, data gaps and metadata ambiguities. Forecast skill is evaluated against hourly tide gauge observations. Characteristics of the bias correction term are demonstrated to be primarily static in time, with time varying signals showing regional coherence. This simple approach to exploiting existing complex systems can offer valuable levels of skill at a range of Australian locations. The prospect of interpolation between observation sites and exploitation of lagged-ensemble uncertainty estimates could be meaningfully pursued. Skill characteristics define a benchmark against which new operational sea level forecasting systems can be measured. More generally, an aggregation approach may prove to be optimal for routine sea level forecast services given the physically inhomogeneous processes involved and ability to incorporate ongoing improvements and extensions of source systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Coastal Sea Levels, Impacts and Adaptation)
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Open AccessArticle South Florida’s Encroachment of the Sea and Environmental Transformation over the 21st Century
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2017, 5(3), 31; doi:10.3390/jmse5030031
Received: 12 April 2017 / Revised: 10 July 2017 / Accepted: 18 July 2017 / Published: 28 July 2017
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Abstract
South Florida encompasses a dynamic confluence of urban and natural ecosystems strongly connected to ocean and freshwater hydrologic forcings. Low land elevation, flat topography and highly transmissive aquifers place both communities at the nexus of environmental and ecological transformation driven by rising sea
[...] Read more.
South Florida encompasses a dynamic confluence of urban and natural ecosystems strongly connected to ocean and freshwater hydrologic forcings. Low land elevation, flat topography and highly transmissive aquifers place both communities at the nexus of environmental and ecological transformation driven by rising sea level. Based on a local sea level rise projection, we examine regional inundation impacts and employ hydrographic records in Florida Bay and the southern Everglades to assess water level exceedance dynamics and landscape-relevant tipping points. Intrinsic mode functions of water levels across the coastal interface are used to gauge the relative influence and time-varying transformation potential of estuarine and freshwater marshes into a marine-dominated environment with the introduction of a Marsh-to-Ocean transformation index (MOI). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Coastal Sea Levels, Impacts and Adaptation)
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Open AccessArticle Observed Sea-Level Changes along the Norwegian Coast
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2017, 5(3), 29; doi:10.3390/jmse5030029
Received: 31 May 2017 / Revised: 30 June 2017 / Accepted: 12 July 2017 / Published: 17 July 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (2145 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Norway’s national sea level observing system consists of an extensive array of tide gauges, permanent GNSS stations, and lines of repeated levelling. Here, we make use of this observation system to calculate relative sea-level rates and rates corrected for glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA)
[...] Read more.
Norway’s national sea level observing system consists of an extensive array of tide gauges, permanent GNSS stations, and lines of repeated levelling. Here, we make use of this observation system to calculate relative sea-level rates and rates corrected for glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA) along the Norwegian coast for three different periods, i.e., 1960 to 2010, 1984 to 2014, and 1993 to 2016. For all periods, the relative sea-level rates show considerable spatial variations that are largely due to differences in vertical land motion due to GIA. The variation is reduced by applying corrections for vertical land motion and associated gravitational effects on sea level. For 1960 to 2010 and 1984 to 2014, the coastal average GIA-corrected rates for Norway are 2.0 ± 0.6 mm/year and 2.2 ± 0.6 mm/year, respectively. This is close to the rate of global sea-level rise for the same periods. For the most recent period, 1993 to 2016, the GIA-corrected coastal average is 3.5 ± 0.6 mm/year and 3.2 ± 0.6 mm/year with and without inverse barometer (IB) corrections, respectively, which is significantly higher than for the two earlier periods. For 1993 to 2016, the coastal average IB-corrected rates show broad agreement with two independent sets of altimetry. This suggests that there is no systematic error in the vertical land motion corrections applied to the tide-gauge data. At the same time, altimetry does not capture the spatial variation identified in the tide-gauge records. This could be an effect of using altimetry observations off the coast instead of directly at each tide gauge. Finally, we note that, owing to natural variability in the climate system, our estimates are highly sensitive to the selected study period. For example, using a 30-year moving window, we find that the estimated rates may change by up to 1 mm/year when shifting the start epoch by only one year. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Coastal Sea Levels, Impacts and Adaptation)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Spatial and Temporal Clustering Analysis of Extreme Wave Events around the UK Coastline
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2017, 5(3), 28; doi:10.3390/jmse5030028
Received: 8 May 2017 / Revised: 26 June 2017 / Accepted: 10 July 2017 / Published: 14 July 2017
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Abstract
Densely populated coastal regions are vulnerable to extreme wave events, which can cause loss of life and considerable damage to coastal infrastructure and ecological assets. Here, an event-based analysis approach, across multiple sites, has been used to assess the spatial footprint and temporal
[...] Read more.
Densely populated coastal regions are vulnerable to extreme wave events, which can cause loss of life and considerable damage to coastal infrastructure and ecological assets. Here, an event-based analysis approach, across multiple sites, has been used to assess the spatial footprint and temporal clustering of extreme storm-wave events around the coast of the United Kingdom (UK). The correlated spatial and temporal characteristics of wave events are often ignored even though they amplify flood consequences. Waves that exceeded the 1 in 1-year return level were analysed from 18 different buoy records and declustered into distinct storm events. In total, 92 extreme wave events are identified for the period from 2002 (when buoys began to record) to mid-2016. The tracks of the storms of these events were also captured. Six main spatial footprints were identified in terms of extreme wave events occurrence along stretches of coastline. The majority of events were observed between November and March, with large inter-annual differences in the number of events per season associated with the West Europe Pressure Anomaly (WEPA). The 2013/14 storm season was an outlier regarding the number of wave events, their temporal clustering and return levels. The presented spatial and temporal analysis framework for extreme wave events can be applied to any coastal region with sufficient observational data and highlights the importance of developing statistical tools to accurately predict such processes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Coastal Sea Levels, Impacts and Adaptation)
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Open AccessArticle Predicting Dynamic Coastal Delta Change in Response to Sea-Level Rise
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2017, 5(2), 24; doi:10.3390/jmse5020024
Received: 9 May 2017 / Revised: 9 June 2017 / Accepted: 16 June 2017 / Published: 20 June 2017
PDF Full-text (1635 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
The world’s largest deltas are densely populated, of significant economic importance and among the most valuable coastal ecosystems. Projected twenty-first century sea-level rise (SLR) poses a threat to these low-lying coastal environments with inhabitants, resources and ecology becoming increasingly vulnerable to flooding. Large
[...] Read more.
The world’s largest deltas are densely populated, of significant economic importance and among the most valuable coastal ecosystems. Projected twenty-first century sea-level rise (SLR) poses a threat to these low-lying coastal environments with inhabitants, resources and ecology becoming increasingly vulnerable to flooding. Large spatial differences exist in the parameters shaping the world’s deltas with respect to river discharge, tides and waves, substrate and sediment cohesion, sea-level rise, and human engineering. Here, we use a numerical flow and transport model to: (1) quantify the capability of different types of deltas to dynamically respond to SLR; and (2) evaluate the resultant coastal impact by assessing delta flooding, shoreline recession and coastal habitat changes. We show three different delta forcing experiments representative of many natural deltas: (1) river flow only; (2) river flow and waves; and (3) river flow and tides. We find that delta submergence, shoreline recession and changes in habitat are not dependent on the applied combination of river flow, waves and tides but are rather controlled by SLR. This implies that regional differences in SLR determine delta coastal impacts globally, potentially mitigated by sediment composition and ecosystem buffering. This process-based approach of modelling future deltaic change provides the first set of quantitative predictions of dynamic morphologic change for inclusion in Climate and Earth System Models while also informing local management of deltaic areas across the globe. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Coastal Sea Levels, Impacts and Adaptation)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle The Impact of Uncertainties in Ice Sheet Dynamics on Sea-Level Allowances at Tide Gauge Locations
J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2017, 5(2), 21; doi:10.3390/jmse5020021
Received: 10 March 2017 / Revised: 12 May 2017 / Accepted: 16 May 2017 / Published: 23 May 2017
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (4731 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
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
[...] Read more.
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. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Coastal Sea Levels, Impacts and Adaptation)
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