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Sea level rise projections

The UKCP09 sea level rise information provides projections:

  • Of changes in absolute sea level rise in waters surrounding the UK.
  • Of changes in relative sea level for coastal areas, where the influence of land movements is considered.
  • For the period 1999-2099.
  • For three emissions scenarios: Low (IPCC SRES: B1), Medium (IPCC SRES: A1B), and High (IPCC SRES: A1FI)
  • That account for differences between different global climate models.
  • That reflect regional variations in projections of sea-level rise
  • That use robust estimations of future land level changes

These projections also include a high risk, low probability scenario (known as the H++ scenario). The H++ scenario has been included to reflect the fact that there considerable uncertainties about the upper limit of absolute sea-level rise. This scenario relies, in part, on expert judgement and is designed to encourage you to think about the limits to adaptation.

Note: Unlike some other components of UKCP09, the sea level projections are not probabilistic. They provide a frequency distribution of projections based on results from eleven models contributed to the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report. The model projections of sea level rise have not been weighted based on comparison with historical sea level observations, and are therefore treated as equally plausible.

More information about the sea level rise methodology (including assumptions and caveats) is given in Chapter 3 of the UKCP09 Marine & coastal projections report, found in the Reports & guidance section.

What can I use them for?

When combined with local information on sea defences, and coastline structure, the sea level projections permit the exploration of spatial and temporal assessment of vulnerability along the UK's coastline. They can be obtained from the UKCP09 User Interface .