EGU22-5156, updated on 10 Jan 2023
EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

High-resolution projections of extreme sea level changes along the coasts of western Europe

Alisée Chaigneau1,2, Angélique Melet1, Stéphane Law-Chune1, Aurore Voldoire2, Guillaume Reffray1, and Lotfi Aouf3
Alisée Chaigneau et al.
  • 1Mercator Ocean International, Toulouse, France
  • 2CNRM UMR 3589, Météo-France/CNRS, Toulouse, France
  • 3Météo-France, Toulouse, France

Extreme sea levels (ESLs) are a major threat for coastal and low-lying regions. Climate change induced sea level (SL) rise will increase the frequency of ESLs. Projections of ESLs are thus of great interest for coastal risk assessment and decision-making. SL projections are typically produced using global climate models (GCMs). However, GCMs do not explicitly resolve key processes driving ESL changes at the coast (e.g. waves, tides). In this study, a regional model IBI-CCS is set up to refine SL projections of a GCM over the north-eastern Atlantic region bordering western Europe using dynamical downscaling. For a more complete representation of processes driving coastal ESL changes, tides and atmospheric surface pressure forcing are explicitly resolved in IBI-CCS in addition to the ocean general circulation. Furthermore, to include the wave setup contribution to ESLs, a dynamical downscaling of a wave global model is performed over the same north-eastern Atlantic domain using the currents and sea level outputs of the IBI-CCS regional ocean model. All the regional simulations are performed over the 1950 to 2100 period for two climate change scenarios (SSP1-2.6 and SSP5-8.5).

Comparisons to reanalyses and observations over the 1993-2014 indicate that ESLs are satisfactorily represented in the regional simulations. In a second phase, the projected changes in ESLs are analyzed, particularly in term of changes in return levels and return periods. The coupling effects between the key processes driving ESL changes at the coast are investigated. We notably assess the influence of the wave setup contribution to ESLs and to projected changes in ESLs and to their return periods. In addition, the impact of accounting for hourly sea level changes in the wave regional model on ESLs and projections of ESLs is estimated.

How to cite: Chaigneau, A., Melet, A., Law-Chune, S., Voldoire, A., Reffray, G., and Aouf, L.: High-resolution projections of extreme sea level changes along the coasts of western Europe, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-5156,, 2022.


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