As the sea level rises the Earth does not stand still
Abstract:Global mean sea level rise was largely linear over the 20th century; however, according to global satellite altimetry, the rate of rise has increased from approximately 1.6 to 3.4 mm/year. It is clear that this eustatic sea level rise has been predominantly caused by thermal expansion of ocean water (i.e., it is a manifestation of an increase in the average annual global temperature). Future projections of increased global temperatures, among others, introduce additional contributions (e.g., land ice loss and changes in land water storage) resulting in higher sea level rise that can only be accommodated by accelerations in the rate of the rise. Increased temperatures lead to changes in evapotranspiration rates, precipitation rates and patterns, etc. As the sea level changes the Earth experiences many other directly or indirectly related processes (e.g., population growth and migration, local variation in subsidence, etc.). Proper assessment of the local, regional and global impacts of relative sea level rise should include as many of these linear and nonlinear processes as possible. This presentation will explain our approach to understanding the relationships between these processes and their impacts to better equip adaptation strategies and enhance coastal resiliency.
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