Collection |

Sea-level rise

Sea-level rise, one of the first identified impacts of climate change, poses a serious risk to a large part of the world’s population who live in coastal areas. There is a pressing need to understand the physical processes driving sea-level rise and coastal inundation to improve projections and provide the best available information to decision makers to inform impact assessments and adaptive management strategies.  

This is a vigorous and dynamic field of research and our scientific understanding of the drivers, impacts and future projections has greatly improved since the last report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2014. With the next IPCC report not due until 2021, scientists and policymakers alike need to keep abreast of these rapid developments. In order to support that process, this collection brings together important, open-access research in sea-level rise published in Nature Communications since the last IPCC report.

This collection has been curated by the Earth science editorial team at Nature Communications and will be updated with new research on a regular basis. The collection is divided into three research areas, observations and drivers of sea-level variability, ice sheet dynamics and their contribution to sea-level rise, and coastal vulnerability to rising sea levels. We hope that the collection proves to be a useful resource for researchers and decision makers who need to manage the high scientific output currently being published.



  • Nature Communications | Editorial | open

    Amid increasingly extreme projections for future sea-level rise, concerns are mounting that policymakers are struggling to keep abreast of fast-paced scientific developments. To ease this burden and increase the accessibility of published research, we have compiled an editor-curated collection of the most recent sea-level rise articles published at Nature Communications.

Editors' picks

  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Rising seas are a legacy of present and future climate change. Here the authors show that under the Paris Agreement, emissions in the next decades have a strong influence on the amount of sea level rise in the centuries to come, with the uncertainty dominated by ice-sheet contributions.

    • Matthias Mengel
    • , Alexander Nauels
    • , Joeri Rogelj
    •  &  Carl-Friedrich Schleussner
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    A paucity of natural archives can make resolving rapid ocean rises induced by ice-sheet collapses during past periods of warming difficult. Here the authors show that systematic and common coralgal terraces record punctuated sea level rise events over decades to centuries during the last deglaciation.

    • Pankaj Khanna
    • , André W. Droxler
    • , Jeffrey A. Nittrouer
    • , John W. Tunnell Jr
    •  &  Thomas C. Shirley
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Inundation and erosion could make many atoll islands uninhabitable over the next century. Here the authors present an analysis of change in the atoll nation of Tuvalu that shows a 2.9% increase in land area over the past four decades, with 74% of islands increasing in size, despite rising sea levels.

    • Paul S. Kench
    • , Murray R. Ford
    •  &  Susan D. Owen
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Ice core data show a breakdown in the long-term temperature-atmospheric CO2 correlation during interglacial-glacial transitions. Here, via a novel modelling approach, the authors reveal marine volcanism, triggered by a fall in sea level, as a likely mechanism for the observed delayed decline in atmospheric CO2.

    • Jörg Hasenclever
    • , Gregor Knorr
    • , Lars H. Rüpke
    • , Peter Köhler
    • , Jason Morgan
    • , Kristin Garofalo
    • , Stephen Barker
    • , Gerrit Lohmann
    •  &  Ian R. Hall
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Predictions of coastal wetland response to sea-level rise often neglect attenuation effects due to vegetation and infrastructure. Here, the authors show that including attenuation effects improves prediction of wetland evolution and suggests increases in wetland vulnerability to sea-level rise.

    • José F. Rodríguez
    • , Patricia M. Saco
    • , Steven Sandi
    • , Neil Saintilan
    •  &  Gerardo Riccardi
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Uncertainties in contemporary extreme sea levels (ESL) from mean sea level rise (SLR) projections have been overlooked in broad-scale risk and adaptation studies. Here, the authors quantify the uncertainties in present-day global ESL estimates and find that they exceed those from global SLR projections.

    • T. Wahl
    • , I. D. Haigh
    • , R. J. Nicholls
    • , A. Arns
    • , S. Dangendorf
    • , J. Hinkel
    •  &  A. B. A. Slangen