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Water Resources Climate Change Guidelines - DHI

Water Resources Climate Change Guidelines - DHI

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Published by DHI
Climate change will mainly hit us first through water. In order for societies to prepare for this, the global challenge is to reduce the vulnerability of natural and human systems. There is a rapidly increasing need to create adaptation actions in order to manage the effects of extreme water rainfalls, heavy storms, droughts, etc.

Together with clients and organisations worldwide DHI has for decades been developing solutions for climate change adaptation. We have now compiled our comprehensive knowledge and experiences in three Climate Change Adaptation Guidelines. They give a state-of-the-art overview and also describe in detail the methodologies to be used to achieve sustainable climate change adaptation within the areas of Water Resources, Urban and Marine.

It is vital for the future survival of many societies e.g. in Africa to achieve sustainable climate change adaptation within water resources. But how can one evaluate the impact from various CO2 emission scenarios and transform them into impact on precipitation? This is just one of the difficult procedures described in this guideline.
Climate change will mainly hit us first through water. In order for societies to prepare for this, the global challenge is to reduce the vulnerability of natural and human systems. There is a rapidly increasing need to create adaptation actions in order to manage the effects of extreme water rainfalls, heavy storms, droughts, etc.

Together with clients and organisations worldwide DHI has for decades been developing solutions for climate change adaptation. We have now compiled our comprehensive knowledge and experiences in three Climate Change Adaptation Guidelines. They give a state-of-the-art overview and also describe in detail the methodologies to be used to achieve sustainable climate change adaptation within the areas of Water Resources, Urban and Marine.

It is vital for the future survival of many societies e.g. in Africa to achieve sustainable climate change adaptation within water resources. But how can one evaluate the impact from various CO2 emission scenarios and transform them into impact on precipitation? This is just one of the difficult procedures described in this guideline.

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4.7 Key variables

for water resources

4.8 Statstcal

downscaling

4.9 Developing

projectons of
extremes

4.6

Sea level projections

Developing projectons

Table 4.6.1. Projected global mean sea level rise for the diferent
SRES scenarios reported in the IPCC 4th

Assessment Report given as

the 5% to 95% range in [m] between 1980-1999 and 2090-2099

(Meehl et al., 2007).

B1

B2 A1B A1T A2 A1F1
Lower (5%) 0.18 0.20 0.21 0.20 0.23 0.26

Upper (95%) 0.38 0.43 0.48 0.45 0.51 0.59

67

could be signifcant (Nicholls et al.,
2011).

Since the publicaton of the 4th

Assess-
ment Report, the sea level projectons
have been debated. Observatons of
acceleratons of the ice sheet discharg-
es in Greenland and Antarctca could
not be explained by state-of-the-art ice
sheet models, suggestng that the IPCC
projectons underestmated the sea
level rise. A number of studies have
been conducted following the 4th

As-

sessment Report using diferent ap-
proaches for projectng sea level rise.
These modelling approaches include
use of palaeo-climate analogues and
semi-empirical methods that relate
changes in global sea level with chang-
es in temperature or other climate vari-
ables. An overview of projected chang-
es is shown in Table 4.6.2. Recently,
Jevrejeva et al. (2011) has published
projected sea level rise based on the
new RCP scenarios using the semi-
empirical methodology by Grinsted et
al. (2009). The results are reported in
Table 4.6.3.

All newer projectons indicate higher
sea level rises by 2100 than reported in
the IPCC 4th

Assessment Report. How-
ever, large uncertaintes exist. With
respect to the temporal evoluton of
the global sea level rise Nicholls et al.
(2011) suggest using a quadratc
functon, assuming zero sea level
rise in 1990.

Developing climate projections

Introducton

2. Identfying optons
and assessment criteria

3. Formulatng the water
resources modelling approach 4. Developing

projectons 5. Decision making
under uncertainty 6. Case
studies

1. Defning
the problem

4.6

Sea level projections

D
evelo

p
in
g p
ro
ject
o
n
s

Figure 4.6.1. Regional sea level change due to meteo-oceanographic factors relatve to
the global average sea level rise calculated as the diference between 2080-2099 and
1980-1999, as an ensemble average over 16 GCMs forced with the SRES A1B scenario
(Meehl et al., 2007).

Table 4.6.2. Recently published global sea level rise projectons in 2100 relatve to the
period 1980-2000.

Table 4.6.3. Projected sea level rise in [m] by 2100 for the RCP scenarios (Jevrejeva et al.,
2011). The sea level rise is given relatve to the period 1980-2000.

Range of sea
level rise by
2100 [m]

Method

Source

0.18-0.59

Physically-based modelling

Meehl et al. (2007)

0.5-1.4

Semi-empirical

Rahmstorf (2007)

0.8-2.4

Palaeo-climate analogue

Rohling et al. (2008)

0.55-1.1

Synthesis

Vellinga et al. (2008)

0.8-2.0

Physical -constraint analysis Pfefer et al. (2008)

0.56-0.92

Palaeo-climate analogue

Kopp et al. (2009)

0.75-1.9

Semi-empirical

Vermeer and Rahmstorf (2009)

0.72-1.6

Semi-empirical

Grinsted et al. (2009)

0.5-2.0

Synthesis

Nicholls et al. (2011)

RCP8.5

RCP6

RCP4.5

RCP2.6

Lower (5%)

0.81

0.60

0.52

0.36

Median (50%)

1.10

0.84

0.74

0.57

Upper (95%)

1.65

1.26

1.10

0.83

68

Developing climate projections

Introducton

2. Identfying optons
and assessment criteria

3. Formulatng the water
resources modelling approach 4. Developing

projectons 5. Decision making
under uncertainty 6. Case
studies

1. Defning
the problem

4.1 Introducton to

developing
projectons

4.2 Flow chart for

developing

4.3 Climate forcing

scenarios

4.4 Global Climate

Model projectons

4.5 Regional

Climate Model
projectons

4.6 Sea level

projectons

4.7 Key variables

for water resources

4.8 Statstcal

downscaling

4.9 Developing

projectons of
extremes

4.6

Sea level projections

Developing projectons

Uncertainty in sea level rise

There are large uncertaintes related to the projecton of sea level rise as seen in the reported results in
Tables 4.6.1-4.6.3. One of the largest uncertainty sources is the lack of knowledge of key processes and
feedbacks between climate and the ice sheets. Acceleraton of the ice sheet discharge above the linear
rate used in the 4th

Assessment Report (Meehl et al., 2007) may lead to signifcantly larger sea level rise.
In recent years, much research has been directed to improvement of the modelling of ice sheet dynam-
ics (Church et al., 2011).

The local and regional variaton of sea level rise is another major source of uncertainty. This may con-
tribute up to about 25% of the total sea level rise (Church et al., 2011) and the uncertainty in the chang-
es of oceanic density may be up to several tens of centmeters relatve to the global mean value
(Nicholls et al., 2011). The uncertainty in local non-climate changes that will afect the change in sea
level rise may be substantal (e.g. isostatc changes and subsidence).

If extreme sea water level is of concern, the change in storminess and storm surge characteristcs are
important. In this regard, there are large uncertaintes in current projectons of changes in the intensity
and frequency of tropical cyclones and extratropical storms. The increase of mean sea level will also
afect tdes and storm surge propagaton in shallow waters.

Where can I fnd sea level projecton data?

Projectons of changes in global sea level can be
found in IPCC 4th

Assessment Report and in newer
studies, see overview in Tables 4.6.1-4.6.3. The
projectons are typically given as a range with a
lower (5%) and upper (95%) percentle. With re-
spect to regional changes in mean sea level due to
changes in ocean density and circulaton, projec-
tons are uncertain and fewer projectons exist.
Projectons are available in IPCC 4th

Assessment

Report and are shown in Figure 4.6.1.

The global projectons are usually given as sea level
rise by 2100 relatve to the sea level in 1990. For
estmaton of the temporal evoluton, a quadratc
functon can be used. If non-climate factors such as
isostatc changes and subsidence are important,
these should be estmated and included in the pro-
jecton of the sea water level. For assessment of
fooding, projectons of extreme sea water level
should be taken into account. For some regions,
modelling studies have been conducted for analys-
ing changes in storm surge statstcs.

Choice of projectons

The projectons of sea level rise have large uncer-
taintes. The choice of projectons will be case spe-
cifc, depending on the vulnerability and associated
risk of sea level rise for the region being consid-
ered. For instance, in UK a scenario of up to 2m sea
level rise by 2100 has been developed (denoted
the H++ scenario). The probability of this scenario
is unknown but was found to be relevant due to
large potental impacts of such sea level rise
(Nicholls, 2011).

In general, it is recommended to apply a range of
sea level rise for the impact assessment, repre-
sentng a lower, upper, and median change. Cur-
rent knowledge suggests that the projectons in
the IPCC 4th

Assessment Report are probably in the
lower end, and it is recommended to consider the
newer estmates (reported in Tables 4.6.2-4.6.3) in
the analysis. For studies with large potental im-
pacts, it is recommended to use a high-end scenar-
io such as the UK H++ scenario.

Working with sea level rise

69

Developing climate projections

Introducton

2. Identfying optons
and assessment criteria

3. Formulatng the water
resources modelling approach 4. Developing

projectons 5. Decision making
under uncertainty 6. Case
studies

1. Defning
the problem

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