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Creating a Sea-Level-Enabled E3SM

Funding Program Area(s)
Project Type
DOE Early Career
Project Term
Project Team

Principal Investigator

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Sea level change will be the most fundamental factor driving coastal change along the U.S. – and global – coastline in the coming decades and centuries, with profound disruption and displacement of infrastructure and communities. However, sea level does not change uniformly, due to coupled interactions between the ocean, cryosphere, and solid earth. Regional sea level (RSL) rise can be significantly larger or smaller (by 50% or more) than the global average, with the U.S. coast heavily impacted by regional variations. The SLE-E3SM project fills a critical gap in the application of the Energy Exascale Earth System Model (E3SM) to coastal impacts by creating an RSL rise modeling capability within E3SM. This unique tool will be used to quantify the role of RSL in future storm surge along the U.S. coast. These first fully consistent RSL projections will be used to investigate the accuracy of existing methods that rely on adding disparate, non-interacting contributors to sea level. The sea-level-enabled E3SM provides a critical missing link required for making actionable projections of coastal impacts using DOE’s investment in E3SM.