At the NIOZ Sea Level Research Centre, climatologist Aimée Slangen computes how global sea-level changes translate into effects along the coast. ‘I’m probably one of the few NIOZ researchers who never has to make fieldwork trips, because climate science is something that is mainly done behind a computer screen. For example, we receive measurements of sea levels from satellites down to an accuracy of 1 mm. Then it is a question of calculating computer scenarios. However, we cannot simply translate the scenarios for the Atlantic Ocean into those for the North Sea or the Wadden Sea, because there are many regional effects. We are now trying to calculate these with an accuracy of seven by seven kilometres.’
‘In the regional sea-level scenarios for the Wadden Sea, we need to deal with factors such as soil subsidence, sand transport, wind and waves. The scenarios for the Zeeland and South Holland Delta are different, because more coastlines are protected by concrete structures, amongst other things. Due to all these different effects, we also need to try and combine many different models into a single scenario. In doing this, we now produce calculations beyond the year 2100, because large structures like dykes and delta works are not merely built for a period of twenty years.’
‘I am one of the five Dutch representatives for part one of the three-part IPCC assessment report which was published in August 2021. This first part investigates the physical aspects of climate change. For example, we can see that the sea level rises due to the melting of glaciers and expansion of increasingly warm water, and that the contribution of the melting ice sheets on Greenland and Antarctica continues to increase. An awful lot of water is enclosed in those ice sheets. For a rich country like the Netherlands, sea-level rise can still be accommodated for a while. But at a certain moment, we will be faced with an almost philosophical question: do we want to live in the Netherlands that is a figurative bathtub – surrounded by dykes that need to be built increasingly higher? With my research, I hope to contribute to a realistic picture of what we can expect in the coming years in our delta on the North Sea.’Read more +
I am interested in understanding and projecting (regional) sea-level changes, and on translating these to the coastal/delta/estuarine environment. I like to take a broad approach and study both global and regional sea-level changes, by including all relevant contributions. My focus is on understanding the recent past (20th century) change and projecting future changes for the 21st century and beyond.
I joined the NIOZ Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research in January 2017 in the Department of Estuarine & Delta Systems (EDS), where I am responsible for sea-level change research, both in the open ocean and towards the coast. In 2023, I was awarded a Vidi grant to research 20th century regional sea-level change. I was a Lead Author of the IPCC AR6 report for Working Group 1: The Physical Science Basis (2021) and a Core Writing Team member of the IPCC AR6 Synthesis Report (2023). Before coming to NIOZ, I obtained my PhD at IMAU (Utrecht University, The Netherlands) and did postdocs at CSIRO Ocean and Atmosphere (Hobart, Australia) and IMAU.
Former group members:
I've contributed to several outreach videos, such as the NOS Watersnoodjournaal (episodes 1/3/5), Andere Tijden "Het Water Komt. Weer"; NOS stories rewind and a video from the Deltaprogramme (see videos below). For the release of the IPCC Synthesis report I recorded interviews for the NOS 8-uur journaal and NPO Radio 1.
For more information about our research group, and links to publications, go to sealevelnioz.blogspot.com/