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The Impact of Uncertainties in Ice Sheet Dynamics on Sea-Level Allowances at Tide Gauge Locations
Slangen, A.B.A.; van de Wal, R.S.W.; Reerink, T.; de Winter, R.; Hunter, J.R.; Woodworth, P.L.; Edwards, T.L. (2017). The Impact of Uncertainties in Ice Sheet Dynamics on Sea-Level Allowances at Tide Gauge Locations. J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 5(2): 21. https://dx.doi.org/10.3390/jmse5020021
In: Journal of Marine Science and Engineering. MDPI: Basel. ISSN 2077-1312, meer
Peer reviewed article  

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Author keywords
    sea-level rise; allowances; sea-level extremes

Auteurs  Top 
  • Slangen, A.B.A., meer
  • van de Wal, R.S.W.
  • Reerink, T.
  • de Winter, R.
  • Hunter, J.R.
  • Woodworth, P.L.
  • Edwards, T.L.

Abstract
    Sea level is projected to rise in the coming centuries as a result of a changing climate. One of the major uncertainties is the projected contribution of the ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica to sea-level rise (SLR). Here, we study the impact of different shapes of uncertainty distributions of the ice sheets on so-called sea-level allowances. An allowance indicates the height a coastal structure needs to be elevated to keep the same frequency and likelihood of sea-level extremes under a projected amount of mean SLR. Allowances are always larger than the projected SLR. Their magnitude depends on several factors, such as projection uncertainty and the typical variability of the extreme events at a location. Our results show that allowances increase significantly for ice sheet dynamics’ uncertainty distributions that are more skewed (more than twice, compared to Gaussian uncertainty distributions), due to the increased probability of a much larger ice sheet contribution to SLR. The allowances are largest in regions where a relatively small observed variability in the extremes is paired with relatively large magnitude and/or large uncertainty in the projected SLR, typically around the equator. Under the RCP8.5 (Representative Concentration Pathway) projections of SLR, the likelihood of extremes increases more than a factor 104 at more than 50–87% of the tide gauges.

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