Publication Abstracts

Sweet et al. 2017

Sweet, W.V., R.E. Kopp, C.P. Weaver, J. Obeysekera, R.M. Horton, E.R. Thieler, and C. Zervas, 2017: Global and Regional Sea Level Rise Scenarios for the United States. NOAA Technical Report NOS CO-OPS 083. NOAA/NOS Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services.

The Sea Level Rise and Coastal Flood Hazard Scenarios and Tools Interagency Task Force, jointly convened by the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) and the National Ocean Council (NOC), began its work in August 2015. The Task Force has focused its efforts on three primary tasks:

1) updating scenarios of global mean sea level (GMSL) rise, 2) integrating the global scenarios with regional factors contributing to sea level change for the entire U.S. coastline, and 3) incorporating these regionally appropriate scenarios within coastal risk management tools and capabilities deployed by individual agencies in support of the needs of specific stakeholder groups and user communities. This technical report focuses on the first two of these tasks and reports on the production of gridded relative sea level (RSL, which includes both ocean-level change and vertical land motion) projections for the United States associated with an updated set of GMSL scenarios. In addition to supporting the longer-term Task Force effort, this new product will be an important input into the USGCRP Sustained Assessment process and upcoming Fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA4) due in 2018. This report also serves as a key technical input into the in-progress USGCRP Climate Science Special Report (CSSR).

In order to bound the set of GMSL rise scenarios for year 2100, we assessed the most up-to-date scientific literature on scientifically supported upper-end GMSL projections, including recent observational and modeling literature related to the potential for rapid ice melt in Greenland and Antarctica. The projections and results presented in several peer-reviewed publications provide evidence to support a physically plausible GMSL rise in the range of 2.0 meters (m) to 2.7 m, and recent results regarding Antarctic ice- sheet instability indicate that such outcomes may be more likely than previously thought. To ensure consistency with these recent updates to the peer-reviewed scientific literature, we recommend a revised "extreme" upper-bound scenario for GMSL rise of 2.5 m by the year 2100, which is 0.5 m higher than the upper bound scenario from Parris et al. (2012) employed by the Third NCA (NCA3). In addition, after consideration of tide gauge and altimeter-based estimates of the rates of GMSL change over the past quarter-century and of recent modeling of future low-end projections of GMSL rise, we revise Parris et al. (2012)'s estimate of the lower bound upward by 0.1 m to 0.3 m by the year 2100.

This report articulates the linkages between scenario-based and probabilistic projections of future sea levels for coastal-risk planning, management of long-lived critical infrastructure, mission readiness, and other purposes. The probabilistic projections discussed in this report recognize the inherent dependency (conditionality) of future GMSL rise on future greenhouse-gas emissions and associated ocean-atmosphere warming. In recognition of the different time horizons of relevance to different decision contexts, as well as the long-term GMSL rise commitment (lagged GMSL response) from on-going increases in ocean- atmosphere warming, GMSL rise and associated RSL change are quantified from the year 2000 through the year 2200 (on a decadal basis to 2100 and with lower temporal frequency between 2100 and 2200).

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BibTeX Citation

  author={Sweet, W. V. and Kopp, R. E. and Weaver, C. P. and Obeysekera, J. and Horton, R. M. and Thieler, E. R. and Zervas, C.},
  title={Global and Regional Sea Level Rise Scenarios for the United States},
  publisher={NOAA/NOS Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services},

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RIS Citation

ID  - sw01000b
AU  - Sweet, W. V.
AU  - Kopp, R. E.
AU  - Weaver, C. P.
AU  - Obeysekera, J.
AU  - Horton, R. M.
AU  - Thieler, E. R.
AU  - Zervas, C.
PY  - 2017
BT  - Global and Regional Sea Level Rise Scenarios for the United States
PB  - NOAA/NOS Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services
ER  -

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