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Journal Articles Continental Shelf Research Year : 2017

Sea-level rise impacts on the tides of the European Shelf


Sea-level rise (SLR) can modify not only total water levels, but also tidal dynamics. Several studies have investigated the effects of SLR on the tides of the western European continental shelf (mainly the M2 component). We further investigate this issue using a modelling-based approach, considering uniform SLR scenarios from −0.25 m to +10 m above present-day sea level. Assuming that coastal defenses are constructed along present-day shorelines, the patterns of change in high tide levels (annual maximum water level) are spatially similar, regardless of the magnitude of sea-level rise (i.e., the sign of the change remains the same, regardless of the SLR scenario) over most of the area (70%). Notable increases in high tide levels occur especially in the northern Irish Sea, the southern part of the North Sea and the German Bight, and decreases occur mainly in the western English Channel. These changes are generally proportional to SLR, as long as SLR remains smaller than 2 m. Depending on the location, they can account for +/−15% of regional SLR. High tide levels and the M2 component exhibit slightly different patterns. Analysis of the 12 largest tidal components highlights the need to take into account at least the M2, S2, N2, M4, MS4 and MN4 components when investigating the effects of SLR on tides. Changes in high tide levels are much less proportional to SLR when flooding is allowed, in particular in the German Bight. However, some areas (e.g., the English Channel) are not very sensitive to this option, meaning that the effects of SLR would be predictable in these areas, even if future coastal defense strategies are ignored. Physically, SLR-induced tidal changes result from the competition between reductions in bed friction damping, changes in resonance properties and increased reflection at the coast, i.e., local and non-local processes. A preliminary estimate of tidal changes by 2100 under a plausible nonuniform SLR scenario (using the RCP4.5 scenario) is provided. Though the changes display similar patterns, the high water levels appear to be sensitive to the non-uniformity of SLR.
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hal-01481901 , version 1 (06-12-2023)



Déborah Idier, François Paris, Gonéri Le Cozannet, Faïza Boulahya, Franck Dumas. Sea-level rise impacts on the tides of the European Shelf. Continental Shelf Research, 2017, 137, pp.56 - 71. ⟨10.1016/j.csr.2017.01.007⟩. ⟨hal-01481901⟩


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