Netherlands Polar Data Center

Project - Extreme sea level changes along the Dutch Coast: small chance, large impact, high risk


Up to now most sea level projection where mainly for the global scale and did not consider the probability density functions in much detail. This is not sufficient for coastal management where projections for local rise are needed. Moreover for risk analyses it is important to study the extreme values, which may have only a small probability. Recent work indicates that in particular the changes in the dynamics of ice sheets may lead to skewed distributions, which need to be taken into account in total local projections of sea level. New developments in sea level research enable the start of the construction of probability density functions for the North-Sea region based on CMIP5 ensemble results. Updated calculations of the contribution of thermal expansion, glaciers and ice sheets, groundwater depletion, air pressure differences and changing wind and wave patterns will be combined in a sea level equation model that accounts for gravitational and rotational effects of the changes in mass in the ocean. Results will be validated with local data for the North-Sea region, corrected for tidal effects in order to attribute sea level changes and increase the reliability of future projections. The end result are trends and the variability in the trend of local sea level rise including a probability density function, which can be used for coastal management purposes.

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