Sea level rise: projections and impacts for Scotland

This report reviews the available evidence on projected sea level rise and its implications for Scotland, with a focus on projections for the 21st century:

  • the strengths and weaknesses of the information used to underpin risk assessment and adaptation planning in Scotland; and
  • the main sources of uncertainty.

This information is used to review adaptation options in the face of uncertainty.

Key findings

  • Sea level rise and coastal flooding are key climate change risks for Scotland.
  • Scientific knowledge is advancing rapidly but projections for the 21st century are wide-ranging and have significant uncertainties, particularly regarding ice sheets in the Antarctic.
  • The CCRA2 provides a comprehensive assessment, but more recent research suggests the projections that underpin it probably underestimate sea level rise
  • The new UKCP18 projections are due to be published in November 2018 and will include significantly updated sea level data.
  • Initial Met Office work suggests that, for the UK, central estimates of sea level rise in UKCP18 will be around 20-30% higher than under the UKCP09 H++ (high-end) scenario.
  • To extract usable data from UKCP18 for adaptation planning users will need additional software ‘derived products’.