Australian news, and some related international items

Coastal communities across the world already feeling the impacts of climate change.

Coastal communities across the world are already feeling the disastrous
impacts of climate change through variations in extreme sea levels. These
variations reflect the combined effect of sea-level rise and changes in
storm surge activity.

Understanding the relative importance of these two
factors in altering the likelihood of extreme events is crucial to the
success of coastal adaptation measures. Existing analyses of tide gauge
records agree that sea-level rise has been a considerable driver of trends
in sea-level extremes since at least 1960.

However, the contribution from
changes in storminess remains unclear, owing to the difficulty of inferring
this contribution from sparse data and the consequent inconclusive results
that have accumulated in the literature. Here we analyse tide gauge
observations using spatial Bayesian methods to show that, contrary to
current thought, trends in surge extremes and sea-level rise both made
comparable contributions to the overall change in extreme sea levels in
Europe since 1960.

We determine that the trend pattern of surge extremes
reflects the contributions from a dominant north–south dipole associated
with internal climate variability and a single-sign positive pattern
related to anthropogenic forcing. Our results demonstrate that both
external and internal influences can considerably affect the likelihood of
surge extremes over periods as long as 60 years, suggesting that the
current coastal planning practice of assuming stationary surge extremes
might be inadequate.

 Nature 30th March 2022


April 1, 2022 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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