From: American Geophysical Union
Published March 14, 2017 04:01 PM

Increase in Extreme Sea Levels Could Endanger European Coastal Communities

Massive coastal flooding in northern Europe that now occurs once every century could happen every year if greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise, according to a new study.

New projections considering changes in sea level rise, tides, waves and storm surge over the 21st century find global warming could cause extreme sea levels to increase significantly along Europe’s coasts by 2100. Extreme sea levels are the maximum levels of the sea that occur during a major storm and produce massive flooding.

The increase in frequency of these events that are today considered exceptional will likely push existing coastal protection structures beyond their design limits, leaving a large part of Europe’s coastal zones exposed to flooding, according to the study’s authors.

“Unless we take different protection measures, 5 million people will be exposed to coastal flooding on an annual basis,” said Michalis Vousdoukas, a coastal oceanographer at the Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission and the lead author of the new study published in Earth’s Future, a journal of the American Geophysical Union.

Read more at American Geophysical Union

Image: Extreme waves crashing on Chesil Beach in Dorset in southern England on February 5, 2014. A new study finds find global warming could cause extreme sea levels to increase significantly along Europe’s coasts by 2100. (Image credit: Richard Broome)

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