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The University of Southampton
Engineering

Research project: Quantifying projected impacts under high end climate change (RISES-AM-)

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An internationally important EU funded project to better understand the impacts of climate change for high rises in global means sea levels, and potential ways to adapt.

Project Overview

What will the impacts of sea-level rise be? How can we adapt to this?

Coasts contain much infrastructure

Having researched potential impacts of sea-level rise in Europe, and impacts expected in a world where temperatures may increase by 2°C, the European Commission are keen to understand what the impacts are for rises that occur due for even warmer temperatures. Although higher rises in sea level above a warming of 2°C may seem a long way off, the most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (an important scientific report analysing all the science connected to climate change), suggested this could occur in the next few decades. However, this is still uncertain as scientists are still learning about and modelling the earth's climate, and they are also unsure about how many greenhouse gases will be produced and pumped into the atmosphere. Given this uncertainty in climate change, government are keen to know how much sea levels could potentially rise with respect to the warming atmosphere, what impact this could have, how much it could cost, and what they can do about it.

Storm conditions in Barcelona

RISES-AM- (Responses to coastal climate change: Innovative Strategies for high End Scenarios -Adaptation and Mitigation-) (led by UPC, Barcelona) aims to determine impacts at global, regional and local scales using case studies and models of the coast, run by the twelve partners in the project. How big impacts are depends on coastal adaptation - such as sea defences (dikes, seawalls, groynes, beach nourishment) or how we design infrastructure (raised buildings, construction materials, plus its location), so a major part of the project considers what types of adaptation we use today, and how we can best adapt to sea-level rise in the future.

Southampton are mostly projecting impacts are global and European levels, and also the long-term effects of sea-level rise in the Maldives. They also lead a work package analysing different types of adaptation for the case study sites being investigated.

We have an initial publication from the project, discussing the multiple drivers of change on the coast, and the long-term outlook of adaptation.

Related research groups

Energy and Climate Change
Coastal Engineering and Management

Staff

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