2023 May/30

Research for Society

Study on the impact of natural climate variability on future sea level rise

A new study that combines both the impact of climate change and natural climate fluctuations has been carried out by Mélanie Becker and Mihail Karpytchev from La Rochelle Université’s LIENSs research unit with their colleague Aixue Hu from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in the USA. The paper, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, provides new insights and stark warnings about the scale of the consequences that future sea level rise could have for millions of people.

According to the study, some of Asia’s largest cities could be impacted by 2100 due to rising sea levels. While many of Asia’s coastal megacities were already at risk of flooding, the study suggests that previous analyses have underestimated the sea-level rise and subsequent flooding caused by natural climate fluctuations. As these natural fluctuations are highly variable, their impact is difficult to quantify. But the study showed that due to the impact of these fluctuations combined with the expected consequences of climate change, several megacities in Southeast Asia would become new hotspots of high sea level rise. For example, in Manila, the capital of the Philippines, the study predicts that over the next century, coastal flooding will be 18 times more frequent than before, due to climate change alone. But if natural climate fluctuations are taken into account, the frequency of coastal flooding will be up to 96 times higher than before.

To read the study, click here.

  Chao Phraya, Bangkok, Thailand. Credits: Mélanie Becker

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