Plain English summary
At the NIOZ Sea Level Research Centre, climatologist Aimée Slangen calculates 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 concrete 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 currently one of the five Dutch representatives for part one of the three-part report that the United Nations climate panel IPCC will publish in 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 +
My primary research interest is (regional) sea-level change as a consequence of climate change. I like to take a broad approach and study both global and regional sea-level change, include as many contributions as possible and look both at the recent past (20th century) and at projecting future changes for 21st century and beyond. At NIOZ my research focuses on understanding and projecting (regional) sea-level changes, and on translating these to the coastal/delta/estuarine environment.
I started at the NIOZ Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research in January 2017 as a tenure track researcher. Within the Department of Estuarine & Delta Systems (EDS) I am responsible for the research with a focus on sea-level change, both in the open ocean and at the coast. I am also part of the NIOZ Sea Level Centre of expertise. I am a lead author on the forthcoming IPCC AR6 report, on the chapter on Oceans, Cryosphere and Sea Level Change. Before coming to NIOZ, I did a PhD at IMAU (Utrecht University, The Netherlands) and postdocs at CSIRO Ocean and Atmosphere (Hobart, Australia) and IMAU.
Tim Hermans (Jan 2018-Dec 2021)
Maryse Charpentier (April - Aug 2018)
For more information about my research, links to my publications and updates of my activities, go to http://aimeeslangen.blogspot.nl or follow me on twitter @AimeeSlangen.