Ocean model resolution dependence of Caribbean sea-level projections

René M. van Westen*, Henk A. Dijkstra, Carine G. van der Boog, Caroline A. Katsman, Rebecca K. James, Tjeerd J. Bouma, Olga Kleptsova, Roland Klees, Riccardo E.M. Riva, D. Cornelis Slobbe, Marcel Zijlema, Julie D. Pietrzak

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
27 Downloads (Pure)


Sea-level rise poses severe threats to coastal and low-lying regions around the world, by exacerbating coastal erosion and flooding. Adequate sea-level projections over the next decades are important for both decision making and for the development of successful adaptation strategies in these coastal and low-lying regions to climate change. Ocean components of climate models used in the most recent sea-level projections do not explicitly resolve ocean mesoscale processes. Only a few effects of these mesoscale processes are represented in these models, which leads to errors in the simulated properties of the ocean circulation that affect sea-level projections. Using the Caribbean Sea as an example region, we demonstrate a strong dependence of future sea-level change on ocean model resolution in simulations with a global climate model. The results indicate that, at least for the Caribbean Sea, adequate regional projections of sea-level change can only be obtained with ocean models which capture mesoscale processes.
Original languageEnglish
Article number14599
Number of pages11
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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