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Creating a Sea-Level-Enabled E3SM: A Critical Capability for Predicting Coastal Impacts

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

Principal Investigator

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 interactions between the ocean, ice sheets, and solid earth. Regional sea-level rise can be significantly larger or smaller (by 50% or more) than the global average, with the U.S. coast disproportionately impacted by these variations. This project fills a critical gap in the application of the Energy Exascale Earth System Model (E3SM) to coastal impacts by creating a regional sea-level modeling capability within E3SM. This unique tool will be used to quantify the role of regional sea level in future storm surge along the U.S. coast. These first fully consistent regional sea-level projections from an Earth system model will be used to investigate the accuracy of existing methods that rely on adding disparate, non-interacting contributions to sea level. The sea-level-enabled E3SM provides a critical missing link required for making actionable projections of coastal impacts with E3SM. The project provides the Department of Energy with a tool for predicting regional sea level targeted to agency needs. 

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