Impacts of climate change on sea level
Kevin Horsburgh and Jason Lowe
Horsburgh, K. and Lowe, J. (2013) Impacts of climate change on sea level. MCCIP Science Review 2013, 27-33, doi:10.14465/2013.arc04.027-033
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Mean sea-level rise measured at tide gauges around the UK (1901-present) is estimated at 1.4 ± 0.5 mm per year, which is consistent with the globally averaged figure from tide gauge records (of 1.8 ± 0.5 mm per year). Vertical land motion will modify this by -1.2 to +0.7 mm per year. The rate of sea-level increase was greater in the 20th century than the 19th century
The projections of sea-level rise for the UK, set out in UK Climate Projections 2009 (UKCP09), remain valid but should be updated in due course using the newer global and regional values from the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report.
Projected sea-level rises including the effect of vertical land movement for London over the interval 1990–2095 are estimated to be in the range 21–68cm. Due to the spatial pattern of crustal movement, slightly larger sea-level rises are projected for southern parts of the UK with smaller increases for the north.
Sea-level rise will continue beyond 2100, with the amount of sea-level rise dependent on greenhouse gas emissions
Observational evidence shows that patterns in extreme sea levels are controlled by changes to mean sea level, rather than changes in storminess.
There is no significant evidence for future changes in storm-related extreme sea levels for the UK, due to low confidence in the simulation of extreme winds in climate models. Therefore one may assume that future changes in extreme sea level will be governed by mean sea-level rise.