Global and regional sea level rise: German research project receives about 12 million euros in funding

20.03.2015

The German Research Foundation (DFG) awarded the new Priority Programme “SeaLevel” about €12 million. “SeaLevel” (Regional Sea Level Change and Society) was developed under the overall control of climate researchers in Hamburg. Over the next six years, Professor Detlef Stammer from Universität Hamburg’s Center for Earth System Research and Sustainability (CEN) will coordinate the “SeaLevel” research across Germany. The program’s pivotal goal is to predict sea level changes in select coastal areas in order to establish effective regional counter strategies.

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Climate experts project an average global sea level rise of 25 to 85 centimeters by 2100. Regional increases may even be higher. Their ramifications and necessary adaptations are considered the most cost-intensive aspects of climate change. Impacts vary greatly, however, depending on which coastal section is affected.
Therefore, the DFG-funded “SeaLevel” will investigate said repercussions based on two exemplary regions: Germany and southeastern Asia—the latter characterized by numerous megacities and river deltas. As the selected areas differ enormously in technical, social, economic, political, and cultural respect, data mining and analysis will provide us with very diverse information. This will allow us to simulate a broad spectrum of potential world-wide scenarios.
“Crafting “SeaLevel” into an interdisciplinary project was a conscious choice,” explains Professor Detlef Stammer, deputy chair of the strongly interdisciplinary Cluster of Excellence CliSAP. “Only in this form can we capture the complex interaction between societies and sea level rises.” In the end, we hope to create a toolbox of sorts that is to help the responsible local authorities find the best possible solutions for climate-induced problems.
Hence, “Sea Level” researchers have set out to pioneer the development of regional prognoses about sea level rise. They use basic oceanographic data of both regions to establish computer-generated climate simulations. Until now, results of simulations thus produced had a maximum resolution of five-hundred kilometers. Based on the so-called downscaling, “SeaLevel”, by contrast, will deliver prognoses with a rough accuracy of one kilometer, thus enabling us to make very exact predictions about specific coastal sections.
At the same time, the program will investigate and compare economic performance and resources as well as administrative organization and planning approaches in both regions. This requires that oceanographers, geographers, geophysicists and geodesists, glaciologists, and climate scientists cooperate closely with sociologists and economists. Germany’s earth system and climate research institutions offer ideal conditions for this major project“, says Detlef Stammer. “More than twenty researchers from all over Germany have jointly developed the newly approved program.”

Contact:
Prof. Detlef Stammer
Exzellenzcluster CliSAP, Universität Hamburg
Centrum für Erdsystemforschung und Nachhaltigkeit (CEN)
Tel: +49 40 42838-5052
detlef.stammerdummy@uni-hamburgdummy2.de

Ute Kreis
Öffentlichkeitsarbeit CliSAP/CEN (Media and Public Relations)
Universität Hamburg
Tel: +49 40 42838-4523
ute.kreisdummy@uni-hamburgdummy2.de