Reference : Anthropogenic forcing dominates global mean sea-level rise since 1970
Scientific journals : Article
Physical, chemical, mathematical & earth Sciences : Earth sciences & physical geography
Anthropogenic forcing dominates global mean sea-level rise since 1970
Slagen, A. []
Church, J. []
Agosta, Cécile mailto [Université de Liège > Département de géographie > Climatologie et Topoclimatologie >]
Fettweis, Xavier mailto [Université de Liège > Département de géographie > Climatologie et Topoclimatologie >]
Marzeion, B. []
Richter, K. []
Nature Climate Change
Nature Publishing Group
Yes (verified by ORBi)
United Kingdom
[en] Sea-level change is an important consequence of anthropogenic climate change, as higher sea levels increase the frequency of sea-level extremes and the impact of coastal flooding and erosion on the coastal environment, infrastructure and coastal communities1, 2. Although individual attribution studies have been done for ocean thermal expansion3, 4 and glacier mass loss5, two of the largest contributors to twentieth-century sea-level rise, this has not been done for the other contributors or total global mean sea-level change (GMSLC). Here, we evaluate the influence of greenhouse gases (GHGs), anthropogenic aerosols, natural radiative forcings and internal climate variability on sea-level contributions of ocean thermal expansion, glaciers, ice-sheet surface mass balance and total GMSLC. For each contribution, dedicated models are forced with results from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5) climate model archive6. The sum of all included contributions explains 74 ± 22% (±2σ) of the observed GMSLC over the period 1900–2005. The natural radiative forcing makes essentially zero contribution over the twentieth century (2 ± 15% over the period 1900–2005), but combined with the response to past climatic variations explains 67 ± 23% of the observed rise before 1950 and only 9 ± 18% after 1970 (38 ± 12% over the period 1900–2005). In contrast, the anthropogenic forcing (primarily a balance between a positive sea-level contribution from GHGs and a partially offsetting component from anthropogenic aerosols) explains only 15 ± 55% of the observations before 1950, but increases to become the dominant contribution to sea-level rise after 1970 (69 ± 31%), reaching 72 ± 39% in 2000 (37 ± 38% over the period 1900–2005).

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