Rise in sea level

Global eustatic sea level is forecast to rise by 13-94 cm by 2100 due to climate change (3). In Europe, the regions vulnerable to increased flooding include areas already close to or below mean sea level. Vulnerable regions include:

• the coastline of the Netherlands

• the North Sea coast of Germany

• the Po River delta in Italy

Areas with low intertidal variation are also more vulnerable to a rise in sea level. Such areas include the coastal zones of the Baltic Sea, the Mediterranean Sea and the North Sea/Atlantic coast. Many of Europe's largest cities are built on estuaries and lagoons (for example, Hamburg, London, St Petersburg, Salonica and Venice) and are therefore vulnerable to a rise in sea level (49).

Most low-lying areas in Europe are already protected from coastal flooding, and it is anticipated that countries will maintain and strengthen coastal defences, as it has been shown to be cost-effective to do so. However, changes in the nature and frequency of storm surges, especially in the North Sea, are likely to be of considerable importance for many low-lying coastal areas (8).

Nicholls & Mimura (50) have evaluated the policy implications of sea-level rise. The slow but steady degradation of the coastal fringe in much of Europe has gone largely unnoticed until recently. This trend is likely to continue and accelerate with a rise in the sea level. Some studies have estimated that future populations are at risk of flooding under the projected rise in sea level. Table 1 illustrates some assessments for Germany, the Netherlands and Poland.

The collapse and loss of most of the land-based ice of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet in a short time would entail a much more rapid rise in sea level than is currently forecast. Complete disintegration would raise sea levels by 4-6 metres (51). In addition to the possibility of rapid climate change, the potentially catastrophic risks of a rise in sea level must be considered.

Was this article helpful?

0 -1
Guide to Alternative Fuels

Guide to Alternative Fuels

Your Alternative Fuel Solution for Saving Money, Reducing Oil Dependency, and Helping the Planet. Ethanol is an alternative to gasoline. The use of ethanol has been demonstrated to reduce greenhouse emissions slightly as compared to gasoline. Through this ebook, you are going to learn what you will need to know why choosing an alternative fuel may benefit you and your future.

Get My Free Ebook

Post a comment