Special Issue "Past, Present and Future Trends in Sea Level Change"

A special issue of Water (ISSN 2073-4441). This special issue belongs to the section "Hydrology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 October 2019).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. William Llovel
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
LEGOS, Toulouse, France
Tel. +33-5-61-33-29-30
Interests: Physical Oceanography, Climatology
Dr. Anny Cazenave
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Laboratoire d’Etudes en géophysiques et Océanographie Spatiales, CNES, 18 avenue Edouard Belin, 31401 Toulouse Cedex 9, France
Interests: satellite geodesy and applications to solid Earth geophysics; Earth’s gravity and rotation; present-day sea level changes and causes; water cycle and climate change
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Global mean sea level rise is one of the most direct consequences of global warming. High-precision satellite altimetry, available since 1993, indicates that the global mean sea level is not only rising at a mean rate of 3.1 mm.yr-1, but has also accelerated over this 25-year period. Satellite altimetry also reveals strong regional variability in sea level trends that significantly differ from the global mean estimates. Ocean warming and continental ice mass loss are the two processes responsible for the global mean sea level rise.At regional scales additional processes are at play such as ocean dynamics, ocean circulation, atmospheric forcing (wind stress, heat flux and freshwater flux), the response of the solid Earth to past deglaciation (glacial isostatic adjustment/GIA) and present-day land ice melt, and associated gravitationl changes. At the local scale, in addition to the above processes, small-scale oceanographic factors, fresh water input from rivers in estuaries and vertical land motions from tectonics and human-induced ground subsidence, etc., contribute to sea level changes on the coast. All these processes are spatially and temporally variable and cause complex sea level changes, in particular at regional and local scales. Understanding and investigating the regional and local patterns of sea level trends and their causes from the basin to the coastal scale are mandatory to assess the potential local impact of sea level rise and to prepare the adaptation of coastal communities threatened by future sea level rise. The goal of this Special Issue is to address the regional and local sea level changes from both observational and modelling approaches, with a focus on the past, present and future trends, including trends in extreme events.

Dr. William Llovel


Dr. Anny Cazenave 
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Sea level change
  • Regional variability
  • Causes of sea level change
  • Sea level projections
  • Coastal sea level
  • Extreme events
  • Solid Earth deformations

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Contribution of the Amazon River Discharge to Regional Sea Level in the Tropical Atlantic Ocean
Water 2019, 11(11), 2348; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11112348 - 08 Nov 2019
Abstract
The Amazon River is by far the largest river by volume of water in the world, representing around 17% of the global riverine discharge to the oceans. Recent studies suggested that its impact on sea level is potentially important at global and regional [...] Read more.
The Amazon River is by far the largest river by volume of water in the world, representing around 17% of the global riverine discharge to the oceans. Recent studies suggested that its impact on sea level is potentially important at global and regional scales. This study uses a set of regional simulations based on the ocean model NEMO to quantify the influence of the Amazon runoff on sea level in the Tropical Atlantic Ocean. The model is forced at its boundaries with daily fields from the ocean reanalysis GLORYS2V4. Air-sea fluxes are computed using atmospheric variables from DFS5.2, which is a bias-corrected version of ERAinterim reanalysis. The particularity of this study is that interannual daily runoffs from the up-to-date ISBA-CTRIP land surface model are used. Firstly, mean state of sea level is investigated through a comparison between a simulation with an interannual river discharge and a simulation without any Amazon runoff. Then, the impact of the Amazon River on seasonal and interannual variability of sea level is examined. It was shown that the Amazon River has a local contribution to the mean state sea level at the river mouth but also a remote contribution of 3.3 cm around the whole Caribbean Archipelago, a region threatened by the actual sea level rise. This effect is mostly due to a halosteric sea level contribution for the upper 250 m of the ocean. This occurs in response to the large scale advection of the plume and the downward mixing of subsurface waters at winter time. The Amazon discharge also induces an indirect thermosteric sea level contribution. However, this contribution is of second order and tends to counterbalance the halosteric sea level contribution. Regional mass redistributions are also observed and consist in a 8 cm decrease of the sea level at the river mouth and a 4.5 increases on continental shelves of the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea. In terms of variability, simulations indicate that the Amazon discharge may contributes to 23% and 12% of the seasonal and interannual sea level variances in the Caribbean Archipelago area. These variances are first explained by the Amazon time mean discharge and show very weak sensitivity to the seasonal and interannual variability of the Amazon runoff. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Past, Present and Future Trends in Sea Level Change)
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Steric Sea Level Changes from Ocean Reanalyses at Global and Regional Scales
Water 2019, 11(10), 1987; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11101987 - 24 Sep 2019
Abstract
Sea level has risen significantly in the recent decades and is expected to rise further based on recent climate projections. Ocean reanalyses that synthetize information from observing networks, dynamical ocean general circulation models, and atmospheric forcing data offer an attractive way to evaluate [...] Read more.
Sea level has risen significantly in the recent decades and is expected to rise further based on recent climate projections. Ocean reanalyses that synthetize information from observing networks, dynamical ocean general circulation models, and atmospheric forcing data offer an attractive way to evaluate sea level trend and variability and partition the causes of such sea level changes at both global and regional scales. Here, we review recent utilization of reanalyses for steric sea level trend investigations. State-of-the-science ocean reanalysis products are then used to further infer steric sea level changes. In particular, we used an ensemble of centennial reanalyses at moderate spatial resolution (between 0.5 × 0.5 and 1 × 1 degree) and an ensemble of eddy-permitting reanalyses to quantify the trends and their uncertainty over the last century and the last two decades, respectively. All the datasets showed good performance in reproducing sea level changes. Centennial reanalyses reveal a 1900–2010 trend of steric sea level equal to 0.47 ± 0.04 mm year−1, in agreement with previous studies, with unprecedented rise since the mid-1990s. During the altimetry era, the latest vintage of reanalyses is shown to outperform the previous ones in terms of skill scores against the independent satellite data. They consistently reproduce global and regional upper ocean steric expansion and the association with climate variability, such as ENSO. However, the mass contribution to the global mean sea level rise is varying with products and its representability needs to be improved, as well as the contribution of deep and abyssal waters to the steric sea level rise. Similarly, high-resolution regional reanalyses for the European seas provide valuable information on sea level trends, their patterns, and their causes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Past, Present and Future Trends in Sea Level Change)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Low-End Probabilistic Sea-Level Projections
Water 2019, 11(7), 1507; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11071507 - 20 Jul 2019
Abstract
In the area of sea-level rise, recent research has focused on assessing either likely or high end future sea levels, but less attention has been given to “low-end” sea-level projections, exploring best-case potential sea-level changes and providing the basis for estimating minimum adaptation [...] Read more.
In the area of sea-level rise, recent research has focused on assessing either likely or high end future sea levels, but less attention has been given to “low-end” sea-level projections, exploring best-case potential sea-level changes and providing the basis for estimating minimum adaptation needs. Here, we provide global and regional probabilistic sea-level projections using conservative projections of glaciers and ice-sheets melting and a selection of models from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project phase 5 (CMIP5) delivering moderate thermal expansion. Our low-end sea-level projections are higher than previously estimated because they rely on modeling outcomes only, and do not add any expert judgement, aiming essentially at delivering more realistic upper tails. While there are good reasons to believe that our projections are excessively optimistic, they can be used as low-end sea-level projections in order to inform users with low aversion to uncertainty. Our low-end sea-level projection exceeds 0.5 m along most inhabited coasts by 2100 for business as usual greenhouse gas emissions (RCP8.5), which is relevant for adaptation practitioners as long as efficient climate change mitigation policies are not implemented. This means that without efficient climate mitigation, an acceleration of sea-level rise can hardly be avoided during the 21st century. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Past, Present and Future Trends in Sea Level Change)
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Review

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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
On Some Properties of the Glacial Isostatic Adjustment Fingerprints
Water 2019, 11(9), 1844; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11091844 - 05 Sep 2019
Abstract
Along with density and mass variations of the oceans driven by global warming, Glacial Isostatic Adjustment (GIA) in response to the last deglaciation still contributes significantly to present-day sea-level change. Indeed, in order to reveal the impacts of climate change, long term observations [...] Read more.
Along with density and mass variations of the oceans driven by global warming, Glacial Isostatic Adjustment (GIA) in response to the last deglaciation still contributes significantly to present-day sea-level change. Indeed, in order to reveal the impacts of climate change, long term observations at tide gauges and recent absolute altimetry data need to be decontaminated from the effects of GIA. This is now accomplished by means of global models constrained by the observed evolution of the paleo-shorelines since the Last Glacial Maximum, which account for the complex interactions between the solid Earth, the cryosphere and the oceans. In the recent literature, past and present-day effects of GIA have been often expressed in terms of fingerprints describing the spatial variations of several geodetic quantities like crustal deformation, the harmonic components of the Earth’s gravity field, relative and absolute sea level. However, since it is driven by the delayed readjustment occurring within the viscous mantle, GIA shall taint the pattern of sea-level variability also during the forthcoming centuries. The shapes of the GIA fingerprints reflect inextricable deformational, gravitational, and rotational interactions occurring within the Earth system. Using up-to-date numerical modeling tools, our purpose is to revisit and to explore some of the physical and geometrical features of the fingerprints, their symmetries and intercorrelations, also illustrating how they stem from the fundamental equation that governs GIA, i.e., the Sea Level Equation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Past, Present and Future Trends in Sea Level Change)
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