The rate of global sea level rise accelerated throughout the previous century, with estimates ranging between 1–2 mm/yr for the whole century, and increasing to more than 3 mm/yr for the last couple of decades. Although significant regional differences due to tectonic settings exist, sea level is rising along many coasts worldwide and will continue into the future.
Sea level rise poses a particularly ominous threat to human habitations and infrastructure in the coastal zone: 10% of the world’s population (about 0.7 billion people) live in low-lying coastal regions within 10 m elevation of present-day mean sea level. Sea level rise impacts have been identified as a critical variable for the establishment and maintenance of coastal communities, as a threat to biodiversity and as being responsible for the increasing magnitude and spatial extent of storm surge flood hazard. There are however still large uncertainties regarding the dimensions and timing of the changes to come.
Therefore, more research is needed on methods to assess the effects of climate change, to establish sea level confidence thresholds, to consistently assess future risk of extreme sea level events, and to create and implement adaptation strategies to face the most drastic sea level rise impacts, particularly those associated with low-probability but high-impact changes.
The ECRA Collaborative Programme on Sea Level Change and Coastal Impacts focuses on coastal flooding, regional studies of sea level change, sea level extremes and possible impacts, which is a challenging theme for European research and coastal management. Further key topics are regional context of semi-enclosed basins (e.g. Mediterranean Sea and Baltic Sea), adaptation strategies in a regional context, communication and collaboration between natural, social and economic scientists, stakeholders, policy makers, and the public.
Current key topics include:
- Observations of mean sea level change and contributing processes
- Modelling and projections of regional mean sea level
- Changes in extreme sea levels
- Impacts of sea level changes and adaptation strategies
- Communication and collaboration
The CP SLC has organised four Workshops so far. For further information on the Workshops, please follow this link.
The CP SLC has a White Paper containing information on the CP’s goals and main topics. The current White Paper from December 5, 2016 can be downloaded here.
A Factsheet presenting key issues as well as recommendations for research priorities in H2020 and beyond was prepared for ECRA’s General Assembly 2017. It is available for download at this link.
The CP is coordinated by the Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development (ENEA), and the Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Center (NERSC), and Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research (BCCR), in Norway.