Sea level projected to rise on the Med coasts

ROME (ITALPRESS/MNA) – The sea level rise along the Mediterranean coast would be underestimated according to the projections published in 2021 by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in the AR6 Report. This is the result of the research “Sea level rise projections up to 2150 in the northern Mediterranean coasts”, just published in the international journal Environmental Research Letters by a team of researchers from the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV) and the Radboud Radio Lab of the Department of Astrophysics of Radboud University (Netherlands).

“Subsidence, the sinking of the ground because of underground material movement due to natural or anthropogenic causes, has a crucial role in accelerating the rise in sea levels along the coasts, triggered by global warming since 1880,” explains Marco Anzidei, INGV researcher and co-author of the study.

“Our analyzes show that, precisely because of subsidence, in some areas of the Mediterranean the sea level is rising almost three times faster than in stable areas,” adds Antonio Vecchio, researcher at Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen and first author of the study.

“The Mediterranean, in fact, is characterized by a strong variability in the vertical movements of the coasts, which vary from area to area due to tectonic, volcanic and anthropic activity”, continues Enrico Serpelloni, INGV researcher and co-author of the study.
“In our research, conducted within the SAVEMEDCOASTS, SAVEMEDCOASTS2 and Pianeta Dinamico projects, we used data from the numerous GNSS satellite geodetic stations located within 5 km of the sea, with which we can calculate, with millimeter precision, the vertical displacement speeds of the soil”.

In light of this evidence, the team of researchers recalculated the IPCC projections up to 2150 in 265 areas of the Mediterranean, also corresponding to the 51 tide gauges of the international monitoring networks, including data relating to subsidence in the analyses. “The results show maximum and minimum differences compared to the IPCC Report ranging, respectively, from approximately +109cm to -77cm, with an average value approximately 8cm higher,” explains Antonio Vecchio.

“Sea level rise and subsidence mean that around 38,500 km2 of Mediterranean coastline – of which around 19,000 km2 in the northern sector of the basin alone – will soon be more exposed to the risk of marine flooding, with consequent greater impacts on the environment, human activities and infrastructure. It is therefore necessary to take concrete actions to support coastal populations who will be increasingly vulnerable to rising sea levels and the greater risks associated with this by the end of this century and beyond”, concludes Marco Anzidei.

– Photo press office INGV –