, Volume 91, Issue 3-4, pp 351-374
Date: 23 Aug 2008

Climate scenarios of sea level rise for the northeast Atlantic Ocean: a study including the effects of ocean dynamics and gravity changes induced by ice melt

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Abstract

Here we present a set of regional climate scenarios of sea level rise for the northeast Atlantic Ocean. In this study, the latest observations and results obtained with state-of-the-art climate models are combined. In addition, regional effects due to ocean dynamics and changes in the Earth’s gravity field induced by melting of land-based ice masses have been taken into account. The climate scenarios are constructed for the target years 2050 and 2100, for both a moderate and a large rise in global mean atmospheric temperature (2 °C and 4 °C in 2100 respectively). The climate scenarios contain contributions from changes in ocean density (global thermal expansion and local steric changes related to changing ocean dynamics) and changes in ocean mass (melting of mountain glaciers and ice caps, changes in the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, and (minor) terrestrial water-storage contributions). All major components depend on the global temperature rise achieved in the target periods considered. The resulting set of climate scenarios represents our best estimate of twenty-first century sea level rise in the northeast Atlantic Ocean, given the current understanding of the various contributions. For 2100, they yield a local rise of 30 to 55 cm and 40 to 80 cm for the moderate and large rise in global mean atmospheric temperature, respectively.