A global analysis of extreme coastal water levels with implications for potential coastal overtopping

Rafael Almar*, Roshanka Ranasinghe, Erwin W.J. Bergsma, Harold Diaz, Angelique Melet, Fabrice Papa, Michalis Vousdoukas, Panagiotis Athanasiou, Olusegun Dada, Luis Pedro Almeida, Elodie Kestenare

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

93 Citations (Scopus)
32 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Climate change and anthropogenic pressures are widely expected to exacerbate coastal hazards such as episodic coastal flooding. This study presents global-scale potential coastal overtopping estimates, which account for not only the effects of sea level rise and storm surge, but also for wave runup at exposed open coasts. Here we find that the globally aggregated annual overtopping hours have increased by almost 50% over the last two decades. A first-pass future assessment indicates that globally aggregated annual overtopping hours will accelerate faster than the global mean sea-level rise itself, with a clearly discernible increase occurring around mid-century regardless of climate scenario. Under RCP 8.5, the globally aggregated annual overtopping hours by the end of the 21st-century is projected to be up to 50 times larger compared to present-day. As sea level continues to rise, more regions around the world are projected to become exposed to coastal overtopping.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3775
Number of pages9
JournalNature communications
Volume12
Early online date18 Jun 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021

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