RISeR - Rates of Interglacial Sea-Level Change, and Responses

Supported by a European Research Council Starting Grant



Global sea-level rise is one of our greatest environmental challenges and is predicted to continue for hundreds of years, even if global greenhouse-gas emissions are stopped immediately. However, the range, rates and responses to sea-level rise beyond 2100 are poorly understood.

Sea-level change will not be the same around the world; due to gravitational effects Europe is at far greater risk of sea-level rise should Antarctica melt, than Greenland.  RISeR will tackle this critical question – what is the long-term sea-level rise hazard in Europe due to ice-sheet melt?

To understand the hazards of long-term ice sheet melt, the RISeR project, led by PI Dr Natasha Barlow, is focusing on the Last Interglacial (c. 125,000 years ago) when polar temperatures were 3-5 oC warmer (a pattern similar to that predicted in the coming centuries), and global sea level 6-9 m higher.

By collecting Last Interglacial sediments preserved offshore in the North Sea, we will reconstruct the rates of sea-level change experienced in the region during this climatically warm period.  Using this new dataset RISeR will then provide high-end projections of sea-level rise beyond 2100 for northwest Europe, based upon the reconstructed magnitudes and rates of regional Last Interglacial sea-level change.

The project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement no. 802281).