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Contemporary Global Sea-Level Rise: Increased Risks To Deltaic Cities

21 OCT 2019 (MON) | 11:30-12:30

Map Library, Rm10.10, 10/F, The Jockey Club Tower, Centennial Campus, HKU



Professor C.K. SHUM

Division of Geodetic Science, School of Earth Sciences, The Ohio State University, USA


Department of Geography, The University of Hong Kong


The potential for accelerated sea-level rise under anthropogenic warming is a significant societal problem, in particular in world’s coastal deltaic regions where about half of the world’s population or ~3 billion people resides. Improved estimates of sea-level rise and quantifying the contributing geophysical process remain a complex and challenging interdisciplinary research problem. These geophysical processes include ice-sheets/glaciers/ice caps ablations, steric sea-level, hydrologic surface and groundwater depletions, water retention in reservoirs and aquifer extraction, and the geophysical processes of solid Earth uplift or subsidence due to global isostatic adjustment (GIA), tectonics, sediment loading or other anthropogenic causes which affects accurate measuring present-day sea-level rise and quantifying its geophysical contributions. There are plausible evidences of more rapid anthropogenic warming [IPCC Climate Assessment, 2019], exacerbating the risks of rapid sea-level rise or sea-level accelerations, and in particular, threatening mega cities located in the world’s deltaic or coastal regions with substantial certainty of cyclone-induced storm surges along with higher sea-level rise. Here new estimates are presented for the separation of the contemporary geocentric sea-level rise and the vertical land motion at global tide gauge datum via a joint adjustment of vertical motion and tide gauge-radar altimetry reconstructed sea-level trends over the last six decades and a half. Examples of future relative regional sea-level projection and the associate available fine-resolution coastal vertical land motion estimates will be discussed including Bangladesh Delta and other deltaic regions. Finally, examples such as the monitoring of typhoon-induced flooding and other hazards affecting urban infrastructures using satellite based geodetic observations will be presented.


C.K. Shum is a Professor and Distinguished University Scholar, Division of Geodetic Science, School of Earth Sciences, at The Ohio State University. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and a Fellow of the International Association of Geodesy (IAG). He received numerous awards including the 2012 Vening Meinesz Medal from the European Geosciences Union for distinguished research in Geodesy applied to sea-level science. He served as a Lead Author for the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report (AR4), The Physical Science Basis. This contribution resulted in the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize jointly awarded to IPCC and Al Gore, Jr. He and his group focus on scientific research relates to the quantification of 20th Century and present-day global sea-level rise due to various geophysical sources and the use of satellite geodesy to address Earth sciences and applications. He has published over ~320 refereed journal articles and book chapters, with a Google Scholar Citation index 0f 12,694, H-index: 53, and i-10 Index: 190. His work was covered by New York Times, Physics Today, Sky & Telescope Radio Show, Discoveries and Breakthroughs Inside Science TV, Science News, Science Daily, Scientific American, Soundings magazine, Deccan Chronicle, La Figaro,, Tomorrow Focus Portal GmbH, Axel Springer AG, Televisión Española, Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Zurich, Columbus Dispatch, American Geophysical Union, Ohio State University press, and other news organizations.

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