The North and Baltic Seas, small islands and vulnerable regions

Sea level in the North and Baltic Seas

The relationship between sea level changes in the North Atlantic and in the North Sea and the Baltic Sea will be investigated by means of paleo-reconstructions, reconstructions of tide gauges and projections using numerical models. Statistical and dynamical analysis of existing altimetry and ocean syntheses as well as tide gauges will incorporate the North Sea and extend to time scales covering parts of the Holocene using proxy indicators of past sea level. For times preceding the epoch of pre-instrumental sea level and meteorological records, we study the constitution and age of the Holocene sediment wedge along the German North Sea coast in order to reconstruct coastline changes. Possible acceleration of regional sea level change during the 20th century will be investigated using a statistical approach taking into account the effect of regional atmospheric drivers (in collaboration with B-4).

Small islands and vulnerable regions

In collaboration with C-3, data will be analyzed for small islands surrounded by shallow bathymetry, which currently face wide recognition in the public and are considered to be a flag-ship issue of international politics. A comparative study will analyze the role of small islands as agents of environmental crisis, with respect to different cultural settings and the impact of local sea level changes on the socio-ecological system. In collaboration with CRG Climate Change and Security, an analysis of vulnerability and adaptive capacity for selected regions will identify key impact factors as a function of the sea level and the height above the sea level, affected land area, population, migration, GDP, urban area, agricultural area, wetlands and river systems.