Climate Change and Sea Level: A Challenge to Science and Society

About this page
On Climate and Sea Level
Challenge to Society
Challenge to Science
The Science
Decision Support
Sea Level Forecasting
Policy Making for Adaptation
Comments from Others
Plag (2010), AGU 2010
Plag et al. (2009), OceanObs09
Plag (2009), ISRSE
Climate and Sea level
Sea-level related workshops, blogs, etc
Connecting Delta Cities, New York, June 9-10, 2009 (Flyer, Program)
Climate Change in the Adriatic, Venice, Oct. 27-29, 2008

The Science Challenges: complexity and uncertainties

We need to acknowledge that there are several different types of uncertainties: epistemic, and aleatory. We constantly mix these, and many of us focus on the aleatory uncertainties, are unconfortable with epistemic uncertainties. But the epistemic are those that are of interest in the climate change debate. These are the ones that open the door for the unexpected, where resilience comes in.

An engeneering approach does not work since we do not understand the system well enough, have not full control, and cannot validate our approaches. It is more the physiological/medical approach we need to take: we can use some medicine very carefully, but we have to account for the fact that the organism

How should we deal with the uncertainties?


Rowley, R. J., Kostelnick, J. C., Braaten, D., Li, X., Meisel, J., 2007. Risk of rising sea level to population and land area. EOS Transactions, 88(9), 105, 107 (pdf).