Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research
Phone number
+31 (0)113 57 7450
Location
Yerseke
Function
Research Leader
Expertise
  • Global and regional sea-level change
  • Climate change
  • Detection & Attribution of the underlying causes of sea-level change
  • Contributions to sea-level change from land ice, ocean, atmosphere, solid Earth
  • Coastal impacts of sea-level change

Media

Aimee Slangen in EenVandaag. Foto: EenVandaag

Dr. Aimée Slangen

Research Leader

‘A realistic picture of the sea level change along the coast’

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.’

Sand and concrete

‘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.’

Living in a bathtub

‘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.’

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RESEARCH

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.

ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6268-6683

CURRENT PROJECTS
    GROUP

    Former group members:

    • Dr. Carolina Camargo (Jan 2019 - Feb 2023) - PhD project funded by NWO gebruikersondersteuning Ruimteonderzoek - thesis here
    • Dr. Tim Hermans (Jan 2018 - July 2022) - PhD project funded by Tenure Track startup - thesis here
    • Brendan Oerlemans (May - Aug 2023) - MSc internship
    • Eike Schutt (April-June 2021) - MSc research
    • Yochi Andrawina (Jan-July 2021) - MSc research
    • Annette van den Engel (Nov 2019 - Sept 2020) - MSc research
    • Maryse Charpentier (April-Aug 2018) - MSc research
    OUTREACH

    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/

    Linked news

    Thursday 29 June 2023
    Vidi grants for regional sea levels and ocean tipping points
    [Dutch follows English] Two NIOZ researchers will receive Vidi grants of 800,000 euros. The laureates are Dr Aimée Slangen, for solving the regional sea-level puzzle and Dr Rick Hennekam, for investigating tipping points in climate and ocean…
    Monday 12 June 2023
    The causes of 30 years of sea level rise worldwide identified
    Sea levels are rising almost everywhere on Earth. Satellites measure this very precisely. Sea level rise along the world's coasts is caused by a combination of different factors. Some factors will play a stronger role than others in the coming…
    Thursday 23 March 2023
    Flood risk ten times higher in many places within 30 years
    After the North Sea Flood of 1953, it took nearly 45 years to finalize the Delta Works. If we want to protect The Netherlands against sea-level rise, we shouldn’t wait too long. But how much time do we have left? Researchers from NIOZ, Utrecht…
    Monday 20 March 2023
    Latest and possibly final IPCC warning: Effective climate policy is more urgent than ever
    To have a fifty-fifty chance of meeting the 1.5-degree Paris target, in early 2020 the world could still emit 500 gigatons of CO2. Now, three years later, only 380 gigatons of that remains. As a result, in almost all scenarios, we exceed the 1.5…
    Thursday 26 January 2023
    Dossier: Dijkdoorbraken en natuurlijke kustverdediging
    Op 1 februari 2023 herdenkt Nederland de Watersnoodramp van 70 jaar geleden. Hoewel ons laaggelegen land sindsdien goed beschermd is geweest, stellen de gevolgen van klimaatverandering, zoals zeespiegelstijging en weersextremen Nederland voor nieuwe…
    Tuesday 19 April 2022
    Bringing order to the chaos of sea level projections
    In their effort to provide decisionmakers with insight into the consequences of climate change, climate researchers at NIOZ, Deltares and UU are bringing order to the large amount of sea level projections, translating climate models to expected sea…
    Friday 25 March 2022
    NIOZ viert 10 jarig bestaan in Zeeland
    Vandaag, 25 maart, is het gebouw van het Koninklijk Nederlands Instituut voor Onderzoek der Zee (NIOZ) in Yerseke feestelijk heropend na een flinke verbouwing. Ook vieren we het 10-jarig bestaan van NIOZ in Zeeland. Tijdens de opening spraken oa.…
    Thursday 05 August 2021
    Sea levels rising ever faster according to IPCC climate report 2021
    In 3,000 years, the average sea level has never risen as fast as in the last century, during which it has risen by 20 centimetres. And the sea level is rising faster and faster. Another 20 centimetres will be added in the next thirty years. If…
    Wednesday 14 October 2020
    Exploring Sources of Uncertainty in Steric Sea‐Level Change Estimates
    Ocean temperature and salinity variations lead to changes in sea level, known as steric sea‐level change. Steric variations are important contributors to sea‐level change and reflect how the oceans have been responding to global warming. For this…
    Tuesday 10 March 2020
    NWO ENW Groot award for a HIgh-Resolution approach for ice Shelf instability (HiRISE)
    Antarctica is the single largest unknown in the current projections of sea level rise. For a large part, this is due to the uncertainty of how ice shelves will evolve in a changing climate. The HiRISE consortium, which consists of TUDelft, IMAU,…

    Linked blogs

    Sunday 08 August 2021
    NIOZ podcast Van Delta tot Diepzee aflevering 14 De zeespiegel als thermometer van klimaatverandering
    Het IPCC-rapport 2021 is uit, het VN-klimaatrapport dat ruwweg om de zeven jaar verschijnt. Het rapport geeft een overzicht van de meest recente inzichten en bevindingen van klimaatonderzoek van experts dat over de hele wereld wordt gedaan.…

    NIOZ publications

    Linked projects

    PROTECT; WP7 Regional sea-level change & implications
    Supervisor
    Aimée Slangen
    Funder
    European Community || European Research Council
    Project duration
    1 Sep 2020 - 30 Sep 2024
    UUNIOZ_Cascading effects of sea-level rise on intertidal ecosystems
    Supervisor
    Allert Bijleveld
    Funder
    Utrecht University
    Project duration
    1 Jan 2021 - 31 Dec 2025
    UUNIOZ_Cascading effects of sea-level rise on intertidal ecosystems
    Supervisor
    Allert Bijleveld
    Funder
    Utrecht University
    Project duration
    1 Jan 2021 - 31 Dec 2025
    PROTECT; WP7 Regional sea-level change & implications
    Supervisor
    Aimée Slangen
    Funder
    European Community || European Research Council
    Project duration
    1 Sep 2020 - 30 Sep 2024
    Regional sea-level budget
    Supervisor
    Aimée Slangen
    Funder
    Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research
    Project duration
    1 Jan 2019 - 31 Dec 2022