15 - fact sheet

About Us : People : Research : Publications : Events : News : Opportunities : Contact : Intranet : Search

How vulnerable is the UK coastline?
Sea level has risen around the UK and wave heights in the northeast Atlantic have increased, making coastal communities particularly at risk to climate change. In order to examine the impacts of climate change on vulnerable communities, it is important to assess the expected changes in landscape and local conditions. Dr Michael Tsimplis, from the Southampton Oceanography Centre and the Tyndall Centre, is leading a team of researchers examining the impacts of sea level rise and wave height changes on coastal communities. They will use satellite and tide-gauge measurements for the entire UK coast to model how global climate change will affect sea level and wave heights from the open water to the coastline. They will also study the contribution made by the North Atlantic Oscillation - an ocean pattern influencing temperature, precipitation and wind over Europe that subsequently affects fish populations and agricultural production. The research team will use the projected changes in sea level and wave height to estimate geological changes to the coasts of three focus areas in south England, East Anglia and west Scotland. Working closely with stakeholders in the focus regions, such as coastal managers and shipping operators, the researchers will determine if the changes in sea level, wave height and coastal shape will affect the local economies. They will then use scenarios about regional climate and ocean changes from global models, and land movement information, to assess future sea level and wave height trends around the British Isles, identify the subsequent changes in coastline, and predict the ensuing range of impacts on coastal economies. The resulting range of potential changes will benefit regulators and planners managing the UK coastline, and be of interest to coastal businesses and communities. The results also contribute coastal impact assessments to other Tyndall Centre projects, such as the development of a coastal simulator.

A Tyndall Centre project is investigating past changes to the coastal environment, assessing potential trends in sea level and wave height, and examining the subsequent effects on the lives and economies of coastal communities. © M. Robinson More information Contact the lead investigator of Project IT1.15 (Towards a vulnerability assessment for the UK coastline): Dr Michael Tsimplis Southampton Oceanography Centre University of Southampton, Southampton, SO14 3ZH, UK Phone: +44 (0) 23 8059 6412; Fax: +44 (0) 23 8059 6204 Email: Other researchers involved in this project are: Dr David Woolf, Dr Adonis Velegrakis, Dr Peter Challenor, Southampton Oceanography Centre, University of Southampton Professor Nigel Arnell, Professor Mike Clark, Geography Department, University of Southampton Dr Sarah Wakelin, Dr Judith Wolf, Dr Philip Woodworth, Dr Roger Flather, Dr. Trevor Baker, NERC's Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory Dr Stuart Gibb, North Highland College Environmental Research Institute Dr Tim Osborn, Professor Andrew Watkinson, School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia Project duration: April 2001 to March 2003 Useful web sites: The Tyndall Centre: JERICHO (The Impact of a Changing Wave Climate on our Coasts): Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory's Permanent Service for Mean Sea Level:

1 of 2

15/9/05 11:08 am

IT1.15 - fact sheet

Columbia University Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory's North Atlantic Oscillation page:

2 of 2

15/9/05 11:08 am