Synthesizing uncertainties of transient sea level rise projections

Synthesizing uncertainties of transient sea level rise projections

Wednesday, 8 October 2014 - 12:15am to 1:00pm

Location: Fritz Loewe Lecture Theatre, McCoy Building, Earth Sciences, Corner of Swanston and Elgin Street, Parkville, Melbourne


Global sea level has increased by around 0.2m since the beginning of the 20th century and will continue to rise during the 21st century and beyond. This has profound implications for coastal populations and infrastructure around the globe and calls for continuing efforts to assess future impacts on low-lying coastal areas. However, a sound impact assessment needs to be based on recent sea level observations and the latest physical understanding of processes that contribute to Sea Level Rise (SLR). This PhD research project aims to provide efficient and scientifically robust methodologies that not only allow for a probabilistic uncertainty assessment of long-term SLR projections up to the year 2300 but also provide a more direct link between plausible emission scenarios and the long-term sea level response.

Event Location: 
Fritz Loewe Theatre, McCoy Building, Earth Sciences
Swanston/Elgin Street

Alexander Nauels completed his PhD at the University of Melbourne in 2017, where he synthesized knowledge about multi-centennial sea level rise projections. He is now Scientific Advisor at Climate Analytics, Berlin. Alex studied Geography in Berlin and Climate Science in Bern. Before starting his PhD project in Melbourne he worked at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group I Technical Support Unit during the Fifth Assessment cycle. Alex draws on his work experience to develop research questions related to changes in climate systems that potentially have severe societal consequences. He hopes to contribute to a better understanding of the physical implications of different climate futures. 

PhD Project:  Synthesizing uncertainties of transient sea level rise projections

This PhD project is based on the development of a new sea level module for the MAGICC simple climate carbon cycle model. The module will include the most important sea level drivers and project sea level up to the year 2300. The calibration of the individual sea level components thermal expansion, glacier, Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, and land water storage components  is going to be based on the latest available process understanding and data. A probabilistic framework will be introduced to provide a thorough uncertainty assessment of respective long-term projections. The sea level module will be applied to investigate multi-centennial sea level responses to selected emission pathways and the implications of delayed mitigation action for physical sea level rise impacts. In addition, uncertainties and thresholds inherent to Antarctic and Greenland ice sheet contributions to sea level rise may be analysed as well as the potential to implement potential scaling methods for regional sea level signals.    

Supervisors: A/Prof Malte Meinshausen, Prof. David Karoly 

German Supervisors: Anders Levermann, Matthias Mengel

Start Date: October 2013   Completion: 2017


Web tools and Projects we developed

  • Open-NEM

    The live tracker of the Australian electricity market.

  • Paris Equity Check

    This website is based on a Nature Climate Change study that compares Nationally Determined Contributions with equitable national emissions trajectories in line with the five categories of equity outlined by the IPCC.

  • liveMAGICC Climate Model

    Run one of the most popular reduced-complexity climate carbon cycle models online. Used by IPCC, UNEP GAP reports and numerous scientific publications.

  • NDC & INDC Factsheets

    Check out our analysis of all the post-2020 targets that countries announced under the Paris Agreement.