21st century Mediterranean sea level rise: steric and atmospheric pressure contributions from a regional model

Tsimplis, Michael N.; Marcos, Marta; Somot, Samuel. 2008 21st century Mediterranean sea level rise: steric and atmospheric pressure contributions from a regional model. Global and Planetary Change, 63 (2-3). 105-111.

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An Atmosphere-Ocean Regional Climate Model coupled over the Mediterranean basin and forced by river runoff and influxes from the Atlantic Ocean and the Black Sea is used to obtain estimates of sea level rise in the region during the 21st century. Changes in temperature and salinity under the A2 emission scenario, which corresponds to a high level of anthropogenic gas concentration in the atmosphere, are investigated in the different sub-basins and are used to compute the steric sea level change in the region. Significant spatial variability is observed. This model projects a maximum steric sea level rise of 25 cm. The mean steric sea level rise value predicted is around 13 cm with lower values in the eastern Mediterranean and higher values at the western Mediterranean. Coastal sea level rise values are found to be smaller, although this is partly due to the smaller range of vertical integration in the computation of sea level changes. Warming and salinification of the intermediate waters are also predicted to occur simultaneously thus partly compensating each other. The effects of atmospheric pressure changes are added to the steric sea level obtained from the model giving up to 2 mbars and thus also compensating some of the thermal expansion. Circulation changes will in certain areas also add up to 6 cm of sea level rise. There is no predicted seasonal bias in the sea level rise indicating that the seasonal cycles will remain unaffected. These results are derived from a single model and therefore can only been seen as part of a methodological study. Similar investigations should be applied to a range of models and scenarios in order to obtain a range of the future sea level change in the Mediterranean basin and its associated uncertainties.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 0921-8181
Additional Keywords: sea level; Mediterranean Sea; regional climate model; steric effects
Date made live: 21 Feb 2008 +0 (UTC)

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