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New PCIC Science Brief: Sea Level Rise Observations and Acceleration

PCIC is pleased to announce the release of our next Science BriefPCIC Science Briefs are a regular series of brief reports on recent climate science literature, relevant to stakeholders in British Columbia and surrounding areas. PCIC has developed these briefs because it recognizes the need for a bridge between the cutting edge of climate science research and the various stakeholders who need access to this knowledge, in plain-language reports, filtered for regional relevance, and suitable for consideration in planning and adaptation. PCIC Science Briefs contextualize and explain the results and implications of important scientific findings.

More than two-thirds of British Columbia's population lives in coastal regions and sea level rise is one of the primary threats that climate change presents to coastal communities. PCIC's latest Science Brief covers three recent journal articles that examine the rate of sea level rise and the ability of models to accurately simulate sea level rise at global and regional scales. Publishing in Geophysical Research Letters, Yi et al. (2017) examine the rate at which sea level rise is accelerating and find that the rate of acceleration over the 2005-2015 period is three times the rate over the 1993-2014 period and an order of magnitude larger than the acceleration over the 1920-2011 period. In a pair of articles published in the Journal of Climate, Slangen et al. (2017) and Meyssignac et al. (2017) analyze the ability of climate models to simulate both global and regional sea level rise. After bias corrections are included, they find that the models explain about three-quarters (75% ± 38%) of the observed 20th Century sea level rise and all (105% ± 35%) of the observed sea level rise over the period from 1993-1997 to 2011-2015. Regionally, climate models underestimate the amount of sea level rise that occurred, but do show reasonable agreement for interannual and multidecadal variability.

Read the new Science Brief.

Meyssignac, B. et al., 2017: Evaluating Model Simulations of Twentieth-Century Sea-Level Rise. Part II: Regional Sea-Level Changes. Journal of Climate, 30, 21, 8565-8593, 10.1175/JCLI-D-17-0112.1.

Slangen, A.B.A., et al., 2017: Evaluating Model Simulations of Twentieth-Century Sea Level Rise. Part I: Global Mean Sea Level Change. Journal of Climate, 30, 21, 8539-8563, 10.1175/JCLI-D-17-0110.1.

Yi, S., et al., 2017: Acceleration in the Global Mean Sea Level Rise: 2005–2015. Geophysical Research Letters, 44, 23, 11905–11913, doi: 10.1002/2017GL076129.