Climate change at the coast: From global to local

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The IPCC has recently documented substantial changes in the global heat content of the oceans, salinity, sea level, thermal expansion and biogeochemistry. Over the 21st century anticipated climate-related changes include : a rise in sea level of up to 0.6 m or more ; increases in sea surface temperatures up to 3 °C ; an intensification of tropical and extra tropical cyclones ; larger extreme waves and storm surges ; altered precipitation/run-off; and ocean acidification. The Tyndall Centre has been exploring how to downscale the global analysis to the local level within the framework of a coastal simulator. The simulator provides information on possible future states of the coast through the 21st Century under a range of climate and socio-economic futures and shoreline management options. It links models within a nested framework, recognising three scales : (1) global, (2) regional, and (3) local. The linked models describe a range of processes, including marine climate (waves, surges and mean sea level), sand bank morphodynamics, wave transformation, shoreline morphodynamics, built environment scenarios, ecosystem change, and erosion and flood risk. Analyses from the simulator reinforce conclusions from IPCC WG2 : coasts will be exposed to increasing risks over coming decades due to many compounding climate-change factors ; the impact of climate change on coasts will be exacerbated by increasing human-induced pressures ; the unavoidability of sea-level rise even in the longer-term frequently conflicts with present day human development patterns and trends.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38-44
Number of pages7
JournalHouille Blanche
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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