The key role of vertical land motions in coastal sea level variations: A global synthesis of multisatellite altimetry, tide gauge data and GPS measurements

Abstract : This study aims to quantify the vertical motions driving the decadal coastline mobility and their uncertainty at global scale. Multisatellite altimetry is combined with tide gauges and Global Positioning System (GPS) observations to evaluate the marine and crustal components of relative sea level variations. Vertical land motions and sea level variations are estimated simultaneously over the past 20 years for a network of 886 ground stations, with accuracies better than 1.7 mm/yr. The ALTIGAPS database present significant interest both by its technical characteristics (global coverage, larger number of sites, longer period of observation, improved accuracy) and by the novelty of the applications empowered. ALTIGAPS offers the opportunity to look independently into the recent dynamic processes affecting the ocean and the interior of the Earth. Here, the role of vertical land motions in relative sea level variations is explored to better understand the natural hazards associated with sea level rise in coastal areas. Global evidence for the local variability in vertical land motions is provided, which may either amplify or attenuate the apparent rise of the sea at the coast. A set of 182 potential vulnerable localities are identified by large coastal subsidence (\textgreater1.5 mm/yr) which increases by several times the effects of climate-induced sea level rise. For coastal management purposes, both marine (absolute sea level variations) and crustal (vertical land motions) components of vertical coastal motions (relative sea level variations) should therefore be accounted for. (C) 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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Julia Pfeffer, Pascal Allemand. The key role of vertical land motions in coastal sea level variations: A global synthesis of multisatellite altimetry, tide gauge data and GPS measurements. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Elsevier, 2016, 439, pp.39--47. ⟨10.1016/j.epsl.2016.01.027⟩. ⟨hal-02333291⟩

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