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Sea Level Rates-of-Rise Along Europe's North Sea Coastline

Paper Reviewed
Wahl, T., Haigh, I.D., Dangendorf, S. and Jensen, J. 2013. Inter-annual and long-term mean sea level changes along the North Sea coastline. Journal of Coastal Research Special Issue No. 65: 1987-1992.

In the words of Wahl et al. (2013), "over the last 150 years global sea levels have on average risen by about 21 cm (Church and White, 2011)," and they say "it is predicted that this rise will continue throughout the 21st century (and beyond) at an accelerated rate (Meehl et al., 2007)." So is this prediction on mark to be realized? Or does it look like it is more likely to be proven false?

In an attempt to answer these important questions, Wahl et al., as they describe it, "investigated sea level changes in the North Sea region based on 30 tide gauge records and 19 years of altimetry data." Based on their analysis of all the available data, the four researchers determined that "linear long-term trends in the Inner North Sea (1.6 mm/yr) are similar to global trends (1.7 mm/yr) but smaller in the English Channel (1.2 mm/yr)." And they report that "although the recent rates of sea level rise were high, there is no evidence yet that sea level rise has accelerated over the last decades in the North Sea region."

In this particular part of the world, therefore it would appear there is no evidence for the veracity of Meehl et al.'s prediction.

Church, J.A. and White, N.J. 2011. Sea-level rise from the late 19th to the early 21st Century. Surveys in Geophysics 32: 585-602.

Meehl, G.A., Stocker, T.F., Collins, W.D., Friedlingstein, P., Gaye, A.T., Gregory, J.M., Kitoh, A., Knutti, R., Murphy, J.M., Noda, A., Raper, S.C.B., Watterson, I.G., Weaver, A.J. and Zhao, Z.-C. 2007. In: IPCC Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis: Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (Solomon, S., Qin, D., Manning, M., Chen, Z., Marquis, M., Averyt, K.B., Tignor, M. and Miller, H.L., Eds.), Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom, pp. 747-846.

Posted 21 October 2014