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Time of emergence for regional sea-level change


Lyu, K and Zhang, X and Church, JA and Slangen, ABA and Hu, J, Time of emergence for regional sea-level change, Nature Climate Change, 4, (11) pp. 1006-1010. ISSN 1758-678X (2014) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

2014 Macmillan Publishers Limited

DOI: doi:10.1038/nclimate2397


Determining the time when the climate change signal from increasing greenhouse gases exceeds and thus emerges from natural climate variability (referred to as the time of emergence, ToE) is an important climate change issue. Previous ToE studies were mainly focused on atmospheric variables. Here, based on three regional sea-level projection products available to 2100, which have increasing complexity in terms of included processes, we estimate the ToE for sea-level changes relative to the reference period 1986-2005. The dynamic sea level derived from ocean density and circulation changes alone leads to emergence over only limited regions. By adding the global-ocean thermal expansion effect, 50% of the ocean area will show emergence with rising sea level by the early-to-middle 2040s. Including additional contributions from land ice mass loss, land water storage change and glacial isostatic adjustment generally enhances the signal of regional sea-level rise (except in some regions with decreasing total sea levels), which leads to emergence over more than 50% of the ocean area by 2020. The ToE for total sea level is substantially earlier than that for surface air temperature and exhibits little dependence on the emission scenarios, which means that our society will face detectable sea-level change and its potential impacts earlier than surface air warming.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:climate change, climate variation, density, forecasting method, glacioisostasy, oceanic circulation, sea level change, temporal period
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Oceanography
Research Field:Physical oceanography
Objective Division:Environmental Policy, Climate Change and Natural Hazards
Objective Group:Understanding climate change
Objective Field:Understanding climate change not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Zhang, X (Dr Xuebin Zhang)
ID Code:119565
Year Published:2014
Web of Science® Times Cited:91
Deposited By:Geography and Spatial Science
Deposited On:2017-08-02
Last Modified:2017-10-16

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