Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research
Royal Netherlands
Institute for Sea Research
Phone number
+31 (0)222 369 501
Tenure track Scientist
  • Numerical modeling of glacial isostatic adjustment and sea-level changes
  • Numerical modeling of continental ice sheets fluctuations
  • Numerical modeling of coastal geomorphological and oceanographic processes
  • Numerical modeling of marine sedimentation and stratigraphy
  • Interpretation and integration of paleo and modern sea-level indicators

Dr. Paolo Stocchi

Tenure track Scientist

Fifty shades of sea level

Geophysicist Paolo Stocchi studies nuances in the earth’s sea levels ‘Broadly speaking, it is correct to state that the sea level is rising due to global warming. However, there are incredible regional differences. For example, we are rightly concerned about the melting of enormous ice masses on land, such as on Greenland and Antarctica. After all, it is those ice masses that cause the worldwide sea level to rise the most. Meanwhile, things could work out very differently for the Greenlanders if thousands of cubic kilometres of ice were to melt there. The gravitational force of the ice mass on the land now literally pulls at the sea level. If that effect disappears, then the sea level around Greenland could actually fall instead if rise due to less ice being on the land!’

From researchers to engineers

‘My work mainly consists of modelling effects like this one. I convert factors such as gravity, ice masses, land and water into mathematical terms and calculate what will change at a local or regional level when, for example, more or less ice lies on the land. All these models are open source and can therefore be freely used by researchers and students throughout the world. They are also interesting for engineers who need to design a new harbour somewhere, for example, and so want to know exactly which sea levels they need to take into account.’

New coastline

‘My work has started to expand into neighbouring disciplines as well. If you calculate sea levels, then that also has consequences for coastlines. In turn, that has consequences for the supply and removal of sediment in deltas. Even the exact level of the ebb and flood change due to the effects of gravity on land and water. In tide tables, you can now already read what the high and low tide levels will be at a certain location in several years’ time. On the basis of mathematical models, you can already implement a correction on these: how high or how low will the water be at certain times if the global sea level rises?’

Read more +

Research interests

My research activity focuses on the numerical modelling of sea-level changes that are caused by ice-sheets fluctuations in response to climate change. In particular, I am interested in studying the physical processes that involve the solid Earth, the oceans and the continental ice masses and that contribute to the complex process known as glacial and hydro isostatic adjustment. Large part of my work has focussed and still focuses on the geological past, but I am also interested in the present-day as well as in future scenarios. My current and future research activity at NIOZ will focus on the interaction between climate-driven processes and ocean dynamics with particular emphasis on the coastal geomorphological as well as ecological response to sea-level change.



From 2017: Tenure track scientist at NIOZ, Department of Coastal Systems (COS)

2012-2016: Post-doc at NIOZ, Department of Physical oceanography (supervisor: Prof. Bert L.A. Vermeersen, TU Delft and NIOZ)

2011-2012: Post-doc at IMAU Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research, Utrecht University (Utrecht, The Netherlands). Supervisor: Prof. Roderik S.W. van de Wal)

2008-2011: Post-doc at DEOS, Faculty of Aerospace Engineering, TU Delft (Delft, The Netherlands ). Supervisor: Prof. Bert L.A. Vermeersen

2007-2008: Research fellow at the Institute of Physics of the University of Urbino “Carlo Bo”. Supervisor: Dr. Giorgio Spada

2006: Spring Research fellow at the Faculty of Geology of Brown University, Providence (USA). Supervisor: Prof. Donald Forsyth

2003-2006: PhD student at the Department of Geophysics of the University of Bologna. Supervisor: Dr. Giorgio Spada

Fellowships and grants

2007-2008: Research fellowship inSolid Earth Physics, Faculty of Sciences and Technologies, University of Urbino “Carlo Bo”, Urbino, Italy

2006: Fellow Full Grant at Brown University, Providence (RI), USA

2003-2006: Ph.D. Research Fellowship in Geophysics granted by Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV) and University of Bologna



Paolo Stocchi, Fabrizio Antonioli, Paolo Montagna, Fabrizio Pepe, Valeria Lo Presti, Antonio Caruso, Marta Corradino, Gino Dardanelli, Pietro Renda, Norbert Frank, Eric Douville, François Thil, Bas de Boer, Rosario Ruggieri,Rosanna Sciortino, Catherine Pierre, 2017. A stalactite record of four relative sea-level highstands during the Middle Pleistocene Transition. Quaternary Science Reviews, 173, 92-100.

Bas de Boer, Paolo Stocchi, Pippa L. Whitehouse, Roderik S.W. van de Wal, 2017. Current state and future perspectives on coupled ice-sheet – sea-level modelling. Quaternary Science Reviews, 169, 13-28.

Simone Galeotti, Robert DeConto, Timothy Naish, Paolo Stocchi, Fabio Florindo, Mark Pagani, Peter Barrett, Steven M. Bohaty, Luca Lanci, David Pollard, Sonia Sandroni, Franco M. Talarico, James C. Zachos, 2016. Antarctic Ice Sheet variability across the Eocene-Oligocene boundary climate transition. Science, 10.1126/science.aab0669.

Christian Ohneiser, Fabio Florindo, Paolo Stocchi, Andrew P. Roberts, Robert M. DeConto and David Pollard, 2015. Antarctic glacio-eustatic contributions to late Miocene Mediterranean desiccation and reflooding, Nature Communications, DOI: 10.1038/ncomms9765.

Paolo Stocchi, Carlota Escutia, Alexander J. P. Houben, Bert L. A. Vermeersen, Peter K. Bijl, Henk Brinkhuis, Robert M. DeConto, Simone Galeotti, Sandra Passchier, David Pollard and IODP Expedition 318 scientists, 2013. Relative sea-level rise around East Antarctica during Oligocene glaciation, Nature Geoscience, DOI: 10.1038/NGEO1783.

Please find my complete list of NIOZ-publications at the bottom of this webpage. You can download all my publications on ResearchGate.


Professional education

2007: Ph.D in Geophysics at the University of Bologna. Thesis title: 'Glacial isostasy and sea level change in the Mediterranean: near and far-field effects on a millennium to century time-scale' (Supervisor Dr. Giorgio Spada)

2003: 'Magna cum laude' in Environmental Sciences at the University of Urbino 'Carlo Bo'. Thesis title: 'Global sea-level variations: the contribution of Pleistocene deglaciation' (Supervisor Dr. Giorgio Spada)


Collaborations and Activities

From 2013: Member of the Steering Committee of Past Antarctic Ice Sheet Dynamics (PAIS, 

From 2013: Collaborations within the MEDFLOOD MEDiterranean sea-level change and projection for future FLOODing ( 

From 2010: Collaboration within the IODP 318 'Wilkes Land Glacial History' Science Party ( 318/318title.htm)

2007-2012: Member of Working Group 4 (WG4) - COST Action ES0701 (European Science Foundation) titled 'Improved constraints on models of GIA'

2007-2012: Collaboration within the DynaQlim (Upper Mantle Dynamics and Quaternary Climate in Cratonic Areas), Regional Co-ordination committee of the International Lithosphere Program (ILP)

2007-2008: Collaboration in the Italian national MIUR PRIN2006 'Il ruolo del riaggiustamento isostatico postglaciale nelle variazioni di livello marino globale e mediterraneo: nuovi vincoli geofisici, geologici, ed archeologici' of Dr. Giorgio Spada (Università degli Studi di Urbino 'Carlo Bo')

2005-2008: Collaboration in the international project 'Towards a standard model of present-day signals due to post-glacial rebound', Special Bureau for Loading (SBL)

2004-2006: Collaboration in the Italian National Progetto Nazionale MIUR PRIN2004 'Variazioni globali di livello marino e riaggiustamento isostatico postglaciale: effetti delle proprietà reologiche del mantello terrestre sul tasso di incremento del livello marino attuale' of Dr. Giorgio Spada (Università degli Studi di Urbino 'Carlo Bo')

Linked news

Tuesday 23 February 2021
"Problem of missing ice" finally solved by movement of the earth’s crust
During ice ages, the global mean sea level falls because large amounts sea water are stored in the form of huge continental glaciers. Until now, mathematical models of the last ice age could not reconcile the height of the sea level and the thickness…
Thursday 07 January 2021
€ 3,5 million awarded for Dutch Caribbean coral reef research
We know that coral reefs worldwide are in decline; remarkably little is known about how exactly this happens. That is why a major multidisciplinary research project will start in the coming years within the NWO's Caribbean Research programme under…
Wednesday 02 October 2019
Present CO2 levels caused 20-metre-sea-level rise in the past
Around three million years ago, during the Pliocene epoch, up to one third of Antarctica’s ice sheets melted, causing sea-levels to rise 20 metres. Levels of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere were similar to today’s levels and in response,…
Friday 23 August 2019
Caribbean coral reefs, between resilience and warmer climates
A group of scientists from NIOZ, MARUM and ZMT are heading to Curacao to gather data on the modern and fossil reefs surrounding the island. Their expedition will last from August 23rd until September 3rd, and they will use state-of-the-art approaches…
Tuesday 31 October 2017
Mysterie ontrafeld: Hoe superstormen reusachtige rotsblokken aan land tillen
Aan de grillige kustlijnen van eilanden zijn soms grote rotsblokken te vinden, maar hoe die daar terecht zijn gekomen blijft vaak een mysterie. Tsunami’s is een veel gehoorde verklaring van wetenschappers. Door een beving onder de zeebodem ontstaan…
Monday 28 August 2017
De Antarctische ijskap verloor 1,2 miljoen jaar geleden een derde van zijn massa
~ English version below ~ De Antarctische ijskap kan een derde van zijn massa verliezen tijdens warme interglaciale perioden. Een internationaal team van wetenschappers, geleid door het NIOZ Koninklijk Nederlands Instituut voor Onderzoek der Zee,…

Linked blogs

Friday 23 August 2019
NIOZ@SEA | Curacao mapping
A group of scientists from NIOZ, MARUM and ZMT are heading to Curacao to gather data on the modern and fossil reefs surrounding the island. Their expedition will last from August 23rd until September 3rd, and they will use state-of-the-art approaches…

NIOZ publications

  • 2021
    Gowan, E.J.; Zhang, X.; Khosravi, S.; Rovere, A.; Stocchi, P.; Hughes, A.L.C.; Gyllencreutz, R.; Mangerud, J.; Svendsen, J.-I.; Lohmann, G. (2021). A new global ice sheet reconstruction for the past 80 000 years. Nature Comm. 12: 1199.
  • 2020
    Bender, M.; Mann, T.; Stocchi, P.; Kneer, D.; Schöne, T.; Illigner, J.; Jompa, J.; Rovere, A. (2020). Late Holocene (0–6 ka) sea-level changes in the Makassar Strait, Indonesia. Clim. Past 16: 1187–1205.
    Bini, M.; Zanchetta, G.; Drysdale, R.N.; Giaccio, B.; Stocchi, P.; Vacchi, M.; Hellstrom, J.C.; Couchoud, I.; Monaco, L.; Ratti, A.; Martini, F.; Sarti, L. (2020). An end to the Last Interglacial highstand before 120 ka: Relative sea-level evidence from Infreschi Cave (Southern Italy). Quat. Sci. Rev. 250: 106658.
    Rijsdijk, K.F.; Buijs, S.; Quartau, R.; Aguilée, R.; Norder, S.J.; Ávila, S.P.; Teixeira de Medeiros, S.M.; Nunes, J.C.C.; Elias, R.B.; Melo, C.S.; Stocchi, P.; Koene, E.F.M.; Seijmonsbergen, A.C.; de Boer, W.M.; Borges, P.A.V. (2020). Recent geospatial dynamics of Terceira (Azores, Portugal) and the theoretical implications for the biogeography of active volcanic islands. Frontiers of Biogeography 12(3): e45003.
    Vacchi, M.; Ghilardi, M.; Stocchi, P.; Furlani, S.; Rossi, V.; Buosi, C.; Rovere, A.; De Muro, S. (2020). Driving mechanisms of Holocene coastal evolution in the Bonifacio Strait (Western Mediterranean). Mar. Geol. 427: 106265.
  • 2019
    Grant, G.R.; Naish, T.R.; Dunbar, G.B.; Stocchi, P.; Kominz, M.A.; Kamp, P.J.J.; Tapia, C.A.; McKay, R.M.; Levy, R.H.; Patterson, M.O. (2019). The amplitude and origin of sea-level variability during the Pliocene epoch. Nature (Lond.) 574: 237–241.
    Mann, T.; Bender, M.; Lorscheid, T; Stocchi, P.; Vacchi, M.; Switzer, A.D.; Rovere, A. (2019). Holocene sea levels in Southeast Asia, Maldives, India and Sri Lanka: The SEAMIS database. Quat. Sci. Rev. 219: 112-125.
  • 2018
    Antonioli, F.; Ferranti, L.; Stocchi, P.; Deiana, G.; Lo Presti, V.; Furlani, S.; Marino, C.; Orru, P.; Scicchitano, G.; Trainito, E.; Anzidei, M.; Bonamini, M.; Sansò, P.; Mastronuzzi, G. (2018). Morphometry and elevation of the last interglacial tidal notches in tectonically stable coasts of the Mediterranean Sea. Earth-Sci. Rev. 185: 600-623.
    Bom, R.A.; Philippart, C.J.M.; van der Heide, T.; de Fouw, J; Camphuysen, C.J.; Dethmer, K.; Folmer, E.O.; Stocchi, P.; Stuut, J.-B.; van der Veer, H.W.; Al Zakwani, I. (2018). Barr Al Hikman: a pristine coastal ecosystem in the Sultanate of Oman: Current state of knowledge and future research challenges. NIOZ-rapport, 2018(1). NIOZ Royal Institute for Sea Research: Texel. 61 pp.
    Rovere, A.; Casella, E.; Harris, D.L.; Lorscheid, T; Nandasena, N.A.K.; Dyer, B.; Sandstrom, M.R.; Stocchi, P.; D’Andrea, W.J.; Raymo, M.E. (2018). Reply to Hearty and Tormey: Use the scientific method to test geologic hypotheses, because rocks do not whisper. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 115(13): E2904-E2905.
    Stocchi, P.; Vacchi, M.; Lorscheid, T; de Boer, B.; Simms, A.R.; van de Wal, R.S.W; Vermeersen, B.L.A.; Pappalardo, M.; Rovere, A. (2018). MIS 5e relative sea-level changes in the Mediterranean Sea: Contribution of isostatic disequilibrium. Quat. Sci. Rev. 185: 122-134.
    Vermeersen, B.L.A.; Slangen, A.B.A.; Gerkema, T.; Baart, F.; Cohen, K.M.; Dangendorf, S.; Duran-Matute, M.; Frederikse, T.; Grinsted, A.; Hijma, M.P.; Jevrejeva, S.; Kiden, P.; Kleinherenbrink, M.; Meijles, E.W.; Palmer, M.D.; Rietbroek, R.; Riva, R.E.M.; Schulz, E.; Slobbe, D.C.; Simpson, M.J.R.; Sterlini, P.; Stocchi, P.; van de Wal, R.S.W.; Van der Wegen, M. (2018). Sea-level change in the Dutch Wadden Sea. Geol. Mijnb. 97(03): 79-127.
  • 2017
    Busschers, F.; Hijma, M.; Stocchi, P.; Reichart, G.-J.; van Heteren, S. (2017). De Vroeg-Holocene verdrinking van de Noordzee. Geo.brief 42(7): 4-7
    de Boer, B.; Stocchi, P.; Whitehouse, P.L.; van de Wal, R.S.W. (2017). Current state and future perspectives on coupled ice-sheet – sea-level modelling. Quat. Sci. Rev. 169: 13-28.
    Lorscheid, T; Felis, T.; Stocchi, P.; Obert, J.C.; Scholz, D.; Rovere, A. (2017). Tides in the Last Interglacial: insights from notch geometry and palaeo tidal models in Bonaire, Netherland Antilles. NPG Scientific Reports 7(1): 16241.
    Lorscheid, T; Stocchi, P.; Casella, E.; Gómez-Pujolf, L.; Vacchi, M.; Mann, T.; Rovere, A. (2017). Paleo sea-level changes and relative sea-level indicators: Precise measurements, indicative meaning and glacial isostatic adjustment perspectives from Mallorca (Western Mediterranean). Palaeogeogr. Palaeoclimatol. Palaeoecol. 473: 94–107.
    Palombo, M.R.; Antonioli, F.; Lo Presti, V.; Mannino, M.A.; Melis, R.T.; Orru, P.; Stocchi, P.; Talamo, S.; Quarta, G.; Calcagnile, L.; Deiana, G.; Altamura, S. (2017). The late Pleistocene to Holocene palaeogeographic evolution of the Porto Conte area: Clues for a better understanding of human colonization of Sardinia and faunal dynamics during the last 30 ka. Quaternary International 439: 117-140.
    Rovere, A.; Casella, E.; Harris, D.L.; Lorscheid, T; Nandasena, N.A.K.; Dyer, B.; Sandstrom, M.R.; Stocchi, P.; D’Andrea, W.J.; Raymo, M.E. (2017). Giant boulders and Last Interglacial storm intensity in the North Atlantic. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 114(46): 201712433.
    Simaiakis, S.M.; Rijsdijk, K.F.; Koene, E.F.M.; Norder, S.J.; Van Boxel, J.H.; Stocchi, P.; Hammoud, C.; Kougioumoutzis, K.; Georgopoulou, E.; van Loon, E.; Tjørve, K.M.C.; Tjørve, E. (2017). Geographic changes in the Aegean Sea since the Last Glacial Maximum : Postulating biogeographic effects of sea-level rise on islands. Palaeogeogr. Palaeoclimatol. Palaeoecol. 471: 108-119.
    Stocchi, P.; Antonioli, F.; Montagna, P.; Pepe, F.; Lo Presti, V.; Caruso, A.; Corradino, M.; Dardanelli, G.; Renda, P.; Frank, N.; Douville, E.; Thil, F.; de Boer, B.; Ruggieri, R.; Sciortino, R.; Pierre, C. (2017). A stalactite record of four relative sea-level highstands during the Middle Pleistocene Transition. Quat. Sci. Rev. 173: 92-100.
  • 2016
    Galeotti, S.; DeConto, R.; Naish, T.; Stocchi, P.; Florindo, F.; Pagani, M.; Barrett, P.; Bohaty, S.M.; Lanci, L.; Pollard, D.; Sandroni, S.; Talarico, F.M.; Zachos, J.C. (2016). Antarctic Ice Sheet variability across the Eocene-Oligocene boundary climate transition. Science (Wash.) 352(6281): 76-80.
    Mann, T.; Rovere, A.; Schöne, T.; Klicpera, A.; Stocchi, P.; Lukman, M.; Westphal, H. (2016). The magnitude of a mid-Holocene sea-level highstand in the Strait of Makassar. Geomorphology (Amst.) 257: 155–163.
    Rovere, A.; Raymo, M.E.; Vacchi, M.; Lorscheid, T; Stocchi, P.; Gómez-Pujolf, L.; Harris, D.L.; Casella, E.; O'Leary, M.J.; Hearty, P.J. (2016). The analysis of Last Interglacial (MIS 5e) relative sea-level indicators: Reconstructing sea-level in a warmer world. Earth-Sci. Rev. 159: 404–427.
    Rovere, A.; Stocchi, P.; Vacchi, M. (2016). Eustatic and Relative Sea Level Changes. Current Climate Change Reports 2(4): 221–231.

Linked projects

UUNIOZ_Sea-level relationships
Paolo Stocchi
Utrecht University
Project duration
1 Jan 2021 - 31 Dec 2025