A Review of Recent Updates of Sea-Level Projections at Global and Regional Scales
Sea-level change (SLC) is a much-studied topic in the area of climate research, integrating a range of climate science disciplines, and is expected to impact coastal communities around the world. As a result, this field is rapidly moving, and the knowledge and understanding of processes contributing to SLC is increasing. Here, we discuss noteworthy recent developments in the projection of SLC contributions and in the global mean and regional sea-level projections. For the Greenland Ice Sheet contribution to SLC, earlier estimates have been confirmed in recent research, but part of the source of this contribution has shifted from dynamics to surface melting. New insights into dynamic discharge processes and the onset of marine ice sheet instability increase the projected range for the Antarctic contribution by the end of the century. The contribution from both ice sheets is projected to increase further in the coming centuries to millennia. Recent updates of the global glacier outline database and new global glacier models have led to slightly lower projections for the glacier contribution to SLC (7–17 cm by 2100), but still project the glaciers to be an important contribution. For global mean sea-level projections, the focus has shifted to better estimating the uncertainty distributions of the projection time series, which may not necessarily follow a normal distribution. Instead, recent studies use skewed distributions with longer tails to higher uncertainties. Regional projections have been used to study regional uncertainty distributions, and regional projections are increasingly being applied to specific regions, countries, and coastal areas.
KeywordsSea-level change Regional sea-level change Sea-level projections Ice sheets Glaciers Terrestrial water storage Mediterranean
This paper is a result of the ISSI Workshop on Integrative Study of Sea Level, held in Bern, Switzerland, 2–6 February 2015. A.S. was supported by a CSIRO Australia Office of the Chief Executive Fellowship and the NWO-Netherlands Polar Programme. P.L. was funded by the European Research Council under the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP/2007–2013)/ERC Grant Agreement No. 320816. Y.W. was supported by a Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) Overseas Research Fellowship (Grant No. JSPS-2014-878). F.A. was supported by an AXA postdoctoral fellowship.
- Carson M, Köhl A, Stammer D, Slangen ABA, Katsman CA, van de Wal RSW, Church JA, White NJ (2015) Coastal sea level changes, observed and projected during the 20th and 21st Century. Clim Change 134(1):269–281Google Scholar
- Church JA et al (2013) Sea level change. In: Stocker TF, Qin D, Plattner G-K, Tignor M, Allen SK, Boschung J, Nauels A, Xia Y, Bex V, Midgley PM (eds) Climate change 2013: the physical science basis, contribution of working group I to the fifth assessment report of the intergovernmental panel on climate change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, and New YorkGoogle Scholar
- CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology (2015) Climate change in Australia Information for Australia’s Natural Resourche Management Regions: technical reportGoogle Scholar
- Döll P, Müller Schmied H, Schuh C, Portmann FT, Eicker A (2014) Global-scale assessment of groundwater depletion and related groundwater abstractions: combining hydrological modeling with information from well observations and GRACE satellites. Water Resour Res 50(7):5698–5720. doi: 10.1002/2014WR015595 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Dyurgerov MB, Meier MF (2005) Glaciers and the changing earth system: a 2004 snapshot. Technical report, Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, University of Colorado, Boulder, Occasional Paper No 58Google Scholar
- Mcinnes KL, Church JA, Monselesan D, Hunter JR, O’Grady JG, Haigh ID, Zhang X (2015) Sea-level rise projections for Australia: information for impact and adaptation planning. Meteorol Oceanogr J, AustGoogle Scholar
- Rhein M et al (2013) Observations: ocean. In: Stocker TF, Qin D, Plattner G-K, Tignor M, Allen SK, Boschung J, Nauels A, Xia Y, Bex V, Midgley PM (eds) Climate change 2013: the physical science basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the fifth assessment report of the intergovernmental panel on climate change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge and New YorkGoogle Scholar
- Shannon SR, Payne AJ, Bartholomew ID, Van Den Broeke MR, Edwards TL, Sole AJ, Van De Wal RSW, Zwinger T (2013) Enhanced basal lubrication and the contribution of the Greenland ice sheet to future sea-level rise. doi:10.1073/pnas.1212647110/-/DCSupplemental.www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1212647110
- Vaughan DG et al (2013) Observations: cryosphere. In: Climate Change 2013: the physical science basis. contribution of working Group I to the fifth assessment report of the intergovernmental panel on Climate Change, pp 317–382. doi: 10.1017/CBO9781107415324.012
- Weertman J (1974) Stability of the junction of an ice sheet and an ice shelf. J Glaciol 13:3–11Google Scholar
- Winkelmann R, Levermann A, Ridgwell A, Caldeira K (2015) Combustion of available fossil fuel resources sufficient to eliminate the Antarctic Ice Sheet. Science 1(September):1–5Google Scholar
- Wong PP, Losada IJ, Gattuso J-P, Hinkel J, Khattabi A, McInnes K, Saito Y, Sallenger A (2013) Chapter 5: coastal systems and low-lying areas. In: IPCC WGII AR5, pp 1–85Google Scholar