Sea-level rise and variability: from global means to coastal floods

Angela Hibbert (NOC), Joanne Williams (NOC), Sybren Drijfhout (Southampton) and Paolo Cipollini (NOC) 

Changing coastal sea levels and increased coastal flooding are one of the most dangerous aspects of climate change. An estimated 40 million people worldwide are exposed to flooding, rising to 150 million people by 2070. Projected global mean sea-level rise by 2100 is in the range 0.29 - 0.98 m, depending on greenhouse gas emissions [IPCC AR5], and there will be significant regional variation. 

Yet there are still gaps in our ability to measure sea-levels in extreme environments, and in our understanding of the relationship between global and regional sea-levels, that hinder our interpretation of past sea-level records and  our predictions of future local risks. Global models have had trouble simulating sea-level changes at the coast, in particular the accurate propagation of sea-level signals into coastal areas has been hampered by a lack of resolution of the shelf-sea edge. Global ocean models at 1/12 degree resolution and even finer regional and estuarine models now enable these processes to be studied in more detail and recent improvements in coastal satellite altimetry support those studies and the monitoring of regional sea level variations. 

This session will consider progress in the measurement and understanding of sea-level changes on all time and spatial scales. We invite contributions from studies using measurements of sea level and ocean model simulations  to improve our understanding of the past and present changes in coastal sea levels, and to produce better predictions of future change. We also welcome submissions on the impacts of sea-level rise, and the prediction of future coastal flood risk, for example through storm surges.