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Discussion papers | Copyright
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2018-64
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 26 Mar 2018

Research article | 26 Mar 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences (NHESS).

Atmospheric Circulation Changes and their Impact on Extreme Sea Levels around Australia

Frank Colberg1, Kathleen L. McInnes2, Julian O'Grady2, and Ron K. Hoeke2 Frank Colberg et al.
  • 1Australia Bureau of Meteorology, Melbourne VIC 3001, Australia
  • 2Climate Science Centre, CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research Aspendale, 3195, Australia

Abstract. Projections of sea level rise (SLR) will lead to increasing coastal impacts during extreme sea level events globally, however, there is significant uncertainty around short-term coastal sea level variability and the attendant frequency and severity of extreme sea level events. In this study, we investigate drivers of coastal sea level variability (including extremes) around Australia by means of historical conditions as well as future changes under a high greenhouse gas emissions scenario (RCP8.5). To do this, a multi-decade hindcast simulation is validated against tide gauge data. The role of tide-surge interaction is assessed and found to have negligible effects on storm surge characteristic heights over most of the coastline. For future projections, twenty-year long simulations are carried out over the time periods 1981–1999 and 2081–2099 using atmospheric forcing from four CMIP5 climate models. Results provide insights into how future atmospheric circulation changes may impact Australia's coastal zone and highlight regions of potential sensitivity to atmospheric circulation changes. Areas of note are the Gulf of Carpentaria in the north where changes to the northwest monsoon could lead to relatively large increases in extreme sea levels during Austral summer. For the southern mainland coast the simulated scenarios suggest that a southward movement of the subtropical ridge leads to a small reduction in sea level extremes.

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CSIRO Australia Coastal Sealevel Simulations H. Colberg https://doi.org/10.4225/08/5a7280a3a0d2a

Frank Colberg et al.
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