Understanding Sea-level Rise and Variability / Edition 1

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Understanding Sea-Level Rise and Variability identifies the major impacts of sea-level rise, presents up-to-date assessments of past sea-level change, thoroughly explores all of the factors contributing to sea-level rise, and explores how sea-level extreme events might change. It identifies what is known in each area and what research and observations are required to reduce the uncertainties in our understanding of sea-level rise so that more reliable future projections can be made. A synthesis of findings provides a concise summary of past, present and future sea-level rise and its impacts on society.

Key Features:

  • Book includes contributions from a range of international sea level experts
  • Multidisciplinary
  • Four color throughout
  • Describes the limits of our understanding of this crucial issue as well as pointing to directions for future research

The book is for everyone interested in sea-level rise and its impacts, including policy makers, research funders, scientists, students, coastal managers and engineers.

Additional resources for this book can be found at: http://www.wiley.com/go/church/sealevel.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
The book is written in an elegant and invitingwriting style. The book is quite thoroughly searched. It isalso open and honest about uncertainty. Understanding Sea-level Rise andVariability is full of information, cases and methodologies. The book is for everyone interested in sea-levelrise and its impacts, including policy makers, engineers,researchers, university teachers and students.” (International Journal of Climate Change
Strategies and Management
, 1 January 2013)

“In summary, then, this book provides a synthesis offindings regarding sea level rise and its impacts on society. It should be on the desk of everyone concerned about sea level riseand its impacts, not only geoscientists and their research funders,but also policymakers and coastal managers.” (Geology Today, 1 September 2012)

"In deciphering the many questions regarding the roles ofisostacy, tectonics and neotectonics in sea level change, thisexcellently and vividly illustrated book shows that geoscientistshave much to add to the debate, especially given their knowledge ofthe effects of sea level change in deep time. Each chapter iswritten by a panel of authorities on its topic. The result is abook with much to interest and intrigue geoscientists, coastalengineers and others concerned about modern-day sea level change,and a timely summary given the situation now facing many lowlandareas…It should be on the desk of everyone concerned aboutsea level rise and its impacts, including not only geoscientistsand their research funders, but also policymakers and coastalmanagers." (Geology Today, July 2012)

“Having a structured and insightful book such as this textto back up and illustrate the present findings of sea level rise tospectators at a non-scientific conference is helpful...In littlemore than a dozen chapters, the editors explore and present acomprehensive outlook of the factors contributing to sea level riseand how that relates to probable extreme events in the near future.It also defines the strong and weak points in the present researchand makes observations to reduce the uncertainties in the globalunderstanding of sea level rise. The book is for students,scientists, educators on climate change, coastal managers,developers, engineers, and legislators. It is not only for peopleinterested in the subject to better plan for the future, especiallyaround coastal zones, but for those honestly concerned about thesocial impact of sea level rise and the future shape of humanity inthe remaining of the 21st century." (Bulletin of MarineScience, June 2012)

“This excellent volume concludes with a chaptersynthesising sea-level rise and variability and considering thefuture outlook for the subject. . . It will indeed make a valuableaddition to the bookshelf of anyone interested in sea-level riseand its impacts." (The Holocene, 21(7) 1173-1176, 28September 2011)

“The book is generally of a high quality and wellpresented with few weak papers." (Ocean Challenge, Vol. 18,Number: 3, July 2011)

“It's a very comprehensive and important aide tounderstanding a globally vital subject." (Baird Maritime, 3February 2012)

“The book is intellectually rigorous and is open andhonest about uncertainty. Its recommendations for the futureresearch agenda are refreshing and it has signposted the wayforward." (Quaternary Science Reviews, 2011)

"In summary, I strongly recommend this book because of itsthorough and exhaustive discussion on all aspects of sea-level risedue to climate change. Virtually every researcher and student ofearth system can find something in it that links his/her field ofinterest to the broad canvas of research on sea-level rise. Thereis useful material in it too for the policymaker concerned withmanagement of coastlines and islands to confront the sea-levelrise. " (India Current Science, Vol. 101, No. 5, September2011)

"The editors of this fine book, themselves leading sea-levelresearchers, have assembled a galaxy of contributing authors toprovide a comprehensive and insightful understanding of sea-levelrise and variability. The 13 chapters cover all aspects of thetopic in considerable detail, and together comprise a referencevolume/monograph of sea-level knowledge of great value to theglobal sea-level community." (African Journal of MarineScience, 2011)

“…for the sea-level specialist it is a comprehensiveand beautifully presented book." (Australian Archaeology, 1June 2011)

“The book certainly made for an enjoyable and educationalread; as could be expected, I found especially rewarding thechapters outside my own professional comfort zone. We need to betalking more." (Limnology and Oceanography Bulletin,2011)

"This book explains the lot. It's not escapist fare but it'scrystal clear." (The Australian, 26 November 2010)

"This book is highly recommended for anyone interested incoastal science and engineering and sea level history, as well asfor anyone seeking documentation for global change. It would makean excellent text for a graduate-level course orseminar."(EOS, Vol. 92, No. 18, 3 May 2011)

"....a reliable and definitive contribution to the literature onthis sometimes controversial subject." (Terra et Aqua,Number 123, June 2011)

"....condenses a vast amount of information into one book"(Oceanography, Vol.24, No.2)

“…nicely summarises the state of knowledge to datein clear language that communicates well to the lay person, as wellas to the technical specialist interested in navigation design oroperational details related to sea level.” (The WorldAssociation for Waterborne Transportation – PIANC E-Newsletter, December 2010)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781444334524
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 9/28/2010
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 456
  • Sales rank: 1,251,260
  • Product dimensions: 7.50 (w) x 9.70 (h) x 0.95 (d)

Meet the Author

John Church is an oceanographer with the Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research and the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre. He was co-convening lead author for the chapter on sea level in the IPCC Third Assessment Report. He was awarded the 2006 Roger Revelle Medal by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, a CSIRO Medal for Research Achievement in 2006, and the 2007 Eureka Prize for Scientific Research.

Philip Woodworth works at the Prouvédman Oceanographic Laboratory in Liverpool. He is a former Director of the Permanent Service for Mean Sea Level (PSMSL) and Chairman of Global Sea Level Observing System (GLOSS). He has been a lead or contributing author for each of the IPCC Research Assessments. He was awarded the Denny Medal of IMAREST in 2009 for innovation in sea-level technology and the Vening Meinesz Medal of the European Geosciences Union in 2010 for work in geodesy.

Thorkild Aarup is Senior Program Specialist with the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO and serves as technical secretary for the Global Sea Level Observing System (GLOSS) program. He has a PhD in oceanography from the University of Copenhagen.

Stan Wilson has managed programs during his career, first at the Office of Naval Research where he led the Navy’s basic research program in physical oceanography, then at NASA Headquarters where he established the Oceanography from Space program, and finally at NOAA where he helped organize the 20-country coalition in support of the Argo Program of profiling floats. Currently the Senior Scientist for NOAA’s Satellite & Information Service, he is helping transition Jason satellite altimetry from research into a capability to be sustained by the operational agencies NOAA and EUMETSAT.
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Table of Contents

Editor Biographies.

List of Contributors.



Abbreviations and Acronyms.

1. Introduction: Philip L. Woodworth (ProuvédmanOceanographic Laboratory), John A. Church (Centre for AustralianWeather and Climate Research), Thorkild Aarup (IntergovernmentalOceanographic Commission), and W. Stanley Wilson (NOAA Satellite& Information Service).


2. Impacts of and Responses to Sea-Level Rise: RobertJ. Nicholls (University of Southampton).

2.1 Introduction.

2.2 Climate Change and Global/Relative Sea-Level Rise.

2.3 Sea-Level Rise and Resulting Impacts.

2.4 Framework and Methods for the Analysis of Sea-Level-RiseImpacts.

2.5 Recent Impacts of Sea-Level Rise.

2.6 Future Impacts of Sea-Level Rise.

2.7 Responding to Sea-Level Rise.

2.8 Next Steps.

2.9 Concluding Remarks.



3. A First-Order Assessment of the Impact of Long-TermTrends in Extreme Sea Levels on Offshore Structures and CoastalRefineries: Ralph Rayner (Institute of Marine Engineering Scienceand Technology) and Bev MacKenzie (Institute of Marine EngineeringScience and Technology).

3.1 Introduction.

3.2 Design Considerations.

3.3 Impact of Long-Term Trends in Extreme Sea Levels.

3.4 Evaluating the EconomicImpact.

3.5 Conclusions.


4. Paleoenvironmental Records, Geophysical Modeling,and Reconstruction of Sea-Level Trends and Variability onCentennial and Longer Timescales: Kurt Lambeck (Australian NationalUniversity), Colin D. Woodroffe (University of Wollongong),Fabrizio Antonioli (Ente per le Nuove Tecnologie, l'Energia el'Ambiente, Rome), Marco Anzidei (Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica eVulcanologia, Rome), W. Roland Gehrels (University of Plymouth),Jacques Laborel (Université de la MéditerranéeAix-Marseille II), and Alex J. Wright (Vrije Universiteit).

4.1 Introduction.

4.2 Past Sea-Level Changes.

4.3 Sea-Level Indicators.

4.4 Geophysical Modeling of Variability in Relative Sea-LevelHistory.

4.5 Regional Case Studies.

4.6 Discussion and Conclusions.



5. Modern Sea-Level-Change Estimates: Gary T. Mitchum(University of South Florida), R. Steven Nerem (University ofColorado), Mark A. Merrifield (University of Hawai’i), and W.Roland Gehrels (University of Plymouth).

5.1 Introduction.

5.2 Estimates from Proxy Sea-Level Records.

5.3 Estimates of Global Sea-Level Change from Tide Gauges.

5.4 Estimates of Global Sea-Level Change from SatelliteAltimetry.

5.5 Recommendations.



6. Ocean Temperature and Salinity Contributions to Global andRegional Sea-Level Change: John A. Church(Centre forAustralian Weather and Climate Research), Dean Roemmich (ScrippsInstitution of Oceanography), Catia M. Domingues (Centre forAustralian Weather and Climate Research), Josh K. Willis(California Institute of Technology), Neil J. White (Centre forAustralian Weather and Climate Research), John E. Gilson (ScrippsInstitution of Oceanography), Detlef Stammer (University ofHamburg), Armin Köhl (Institut für Meereskunde), Don P.Chambers (University of South Florida), Felix W. Landerer (JetPropulsion Laboratory, Pasadena), Jochem Marotzke (Max PlanckInstitute for Meteorology), Jonathan M. Gregory (University ofReading), Tatsuo Suzuki (Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science andTechnology), Anny Cazenave (Laboratoire d'Etudes enGéophysique et Océanographie), and Pierre-Yves Le Traon(IFREMER).

6.1 Introduction.

6.2 Direct Estimates of Steric Sea-Level Rise.

6.3 Estimating Steric Sea-Level Change Using OceanSyntheses.

6.4 Inferring Steric Sea Level from Time-Variable Gravity andSea Level.

6.5 Modeling Steric Sea-Level Rise.

6.6 Conclusions and Recommendations.



7. Cryospheric Contributions to Sea-Level Rise andVariability: Konrad Steffen (University of Colorado), Robert H.Thomas (NASA/GSFC/Wallops Flight Facility), Eric Rignot (CaliforniaInstitute of Technology), J. Graham Cogley (Trent University), MarkB. Dyurgerov (deceased), Sarah C.B. Raper (Manchester MetropolitanUniversity), Philippe Huybrechts (Vrije UniversiteitBrussel), and Edward Hanna (University of Sheffield).

7.1 Introduction.

7.2 Mass-Balance Techniques.

7.3 Ice-Sheet Mass Balance.

7.4 Mass Balance of Glaciers and Ice Caps.

7.5 Glacier, Ice-Cap, and Ice-Sheet Modeling.

7.6 Summary and Recommendations.


8. Terrestrial Water-Storage Contributions to Sea-Level Riseand Variability: P.C.D. (Chris) Milly (US GeologicalSurvey), Anny Cazenave (Laboratoire d'Etudes en Géophysique etOcéanographie), James S. Famiglietti (University ofCalifornia, Irvine), Vivien Gornitz (NASA/GISS and ColumbiaUniversity), Katia Laval (Laboratoire de MétéorologieDynamique), Dennis P. Lettenmaier (University of Washington),Dork L. Sahagian (Lehigh University), John M. Wahr (Universityof Colorado), and Clark R. Wilson (University of Texas).

8.1 Introduction.

8.2 Analysis Tools.

8.3 Climate-Driven Changes of Terrestrial Water Storage.

8.4 Direct Anthropogenic Changes of Terrestrial WaterStorage.

8.5 Synthesis.

8.6 Recommendations.


9. Geodetic Observations and Global Reference FrameContributions to Understanding Sea-Level Rise and Variability:Geoff Blewitt (University of Nevada), Zuheir Altamimi(Institut Géographique National), James Davis(Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics), Richard Gross(California Institute of Technology), Chung-Yen Kuo (National ChengKung University), Frank G. Lemoine (NASA Goddard Space FlightCenter), Angelyn W. Moore (California Institute of Technology),Ruth E. Neilan (California Institute of Technology), Hans-PeterPlag (University of Nevada), Markus Rothacher(GeoForschungsZentrum), C.K. Shum (Ohio State University), MichaelG. Sideris (University of Calgary), Tilo Schöne(GeoForschungsZentrum), Paul Tregoning (Australian NationalUniversity), and Susanna Zerbini (University of Bologna).

9.1 Introduction.

9.2 Global and Regional Reference Systems.

9.3 Linking GPS to Tide Gauges and Tide-Gauge Benchmarks.

9.4 Recommendations for Geodetic Observations.



10. Surface Mass Loading on a Dynamic Earth: Complexity andContamination in the Geodetic Analysis of Global Sea-Level Trends:Jerry X. Mitrovica (Harvard University), Mark E.Tamisiea (Prouvédman Oceanographic Laboratory), Erik R. Ivins(California Institute of Technology), L.L.A. (Bert) Vermeersen(Delft University of Technology), Glenn A. Milne (Departmentof Earth Sciences, University of Ottawa), and Kurt Lambeck(Australian National University).

10.1 Introduction.

10.2 Glacial Isostatic Adjustment.

10.3 Sea Level, Sea Surface, and the Geoid.

10.4 Rapid Melting and Sea-Level Fingerprints.

10.5 Great Earthquakes.

10.6 Final Remarks.



11. Past and Future Changes in Extreme Sea Levels and Waves:Jason A. Lowe (Met Office), Philip L. Woodworth(ProuvédmanOceanographic Laboratory), Tom Knutson (Geophysical Fluid DynamicsLaboratory), Ruth E. McDonald (Met Office), Kathleen L. McInnes(CSIRO), Katja Woth (GKSS), Hans von Storch (GKSS), Judith Wolf(Prouvédman Oceanographic Laboratory), Val Swail (EnvironmentCanada), Natacha B. Bernier (Dalhousie University), Sergey Gulev(P.P. Shirshov Institute of Oceanology), Kevin J. Horsburgh(Prouvédman Oceanographic Laboratory), Alakkat S. Unnikrishnan(National Institute of Oceanography), John R. Hunter (AntarcticClimate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre), and RalfWeisse (GKSS).

11.1 Introduction.

11.2 Evidence for Changes in Extreme Sea Levels and Waves in theRecent Past.

11.3 Mid-Latitude and Tropical Storms: Changes in theAtmospheric Drivers of Extreme Sea Level.

11.4 Future Extreme Water Levels.

11.5 Future Research Needs.

11.6 Conclusions.



12. Observing Systems Needed to Address Sea-Level Rise andVariability: W. Stanley Wilson(NOAA Satellite &Information Service), Waleed Abdalati (University of Colorado),Douglas Alsdorf (Ohio State University), JérômeBenveniste (European Space Agency), Hans Bonekamp (EuropeanOrganisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites), J.Graham Cogley (Trent University), Mark R. Drinkwater (EuropeanSpace Agency), Lee-Lueng Fu (Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena),Richard Gross (California Institute of Technology), Bruce J. Haines(California Institute of Technology), D.E. Harrison (Pacific MarineEnvironmental Laboratory), Gregory C. Johnson (Pacific Marine &Environmental Laboratory), Michael Johnson (retired), John L.LaBrecque (NASA), Eric J. Lindstrom (NASA), Mark A. Merrifield(University of Hawai’i), Laury Miller (NOAA Laboratory forSatellite Altimetry), Erricos C. Pavlis (NASA Goddard Space FlightCenter), Stephen Piotrowicz (NOAA), Dean Roemmich (ScrippsInstitution of Oceanography), Detlef Stammer (University ofHamburg), Robert H. Thomas (NASA/GSFC/Wallops Flight Facility),Eric Thouvenot (CNES), and Philip L. Woodworth (ProuvédmanOceanographic Laboratory).

12.1 Introduction.

12.2 Sustained, Systematic Observing Systems (ExistingCapabilities).

12.3 Development of Improved Observing Systems (NewCapabilities).

12.4 Summary.


13. Sea-Level Rise and Variability: Synthesis andOutlook for the Future: John A. Church (Centre forAustralian Weather and Climate Research), Thorkild Aarup(Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission), Philip L. Woodworth(Prouvédman Oceanographic Laboratory), W. Stanley Wilson (NOAASatellite & Information Service), Robert J. Nicholls(University of Southampton), Ralph Rayner (Institute of MarineEngineering Science and Technology), Kurt Lambeck (AustralianNational University), Gary T. Mitchum (University of SouthFlorida), Konrad Steffen (University of Colorado), Anny Cazenave(Laboratoire d'Etudes en Géophysique et Océanographie),Geoff Blewitt (University of Nevada), Jerry X. Mitrovica (HarvardUniversity), and Jason A. Lowe (Met Office).

13.1 Historical Sea-Level Change.

13.2 Why is Sea Level Rising?.

13.3 The Regional Distribution of Sea-Level Rise.

13.4 Projections of Sea-Level Rise for the 21st Century andBeyond.

13.5 Changes in Extreme Events.

13.6 Sea Level and Society.



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