Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/esd-2021-6
https://doi.org/10.5194/esd-2021-6

  25 Feb 2021

25 Feb 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ESD.

Sea Level Dynamics and Coastal Erosion in the Baltic Sea Region

Ralf Weisse1, Inga Dailidiene2, Birgit Hünicke1, Kimmo Kahma3, Kristine Madsen4, Anders Omstedt5, Kevin Parnell6, Tilo Schöne7, Tarmo Soomere6, Wenyan Zhang1, and Eduardo Zorita1 Ralf Weisse et al.
  • 1Helmholtz Zentrum Geesthacht, Centre for Materials and Coastal Research, Geesthacht, 21502, Germany
  • 2Klaipeda University, Faculty of Marine Technology and Natural Sciences, Klaipeda, LT-92294, Lithuania
  • 3Finnish Meteorological Institute, Helsinki, Finland
  • 4Danish Meteorological Institute, Copenhagen, 2100, Denmark
  • 5University of Gothenburg, Department of Marine Sciences, Box 460, SE-405 30 Göteborg, Sweden
  • 6Tallinn University of Technology, School of Science, Department of Cybernetics, Tallinn, 12618, Estonia
  • 7German Research Centre for Geosciences GFZ, Potsdam, 14473, Germany

Abstract. There are a large number of geophysical processes affecting sea level dynamics and coastal erosion in the Baltic Sea region. These processes operate on a large range of spatial and temporal scales and are observed in many other coastal regions worldwide. Together with the outstanding number of long data records, this makes the Baltic Sea a unique laboratory for advancing our knowledge on interactions between processes steering sea level and erosion in a climate change context. Processes contributing to sea level dynamics and coastal erosion in the Baltic Sea include the still ongoing visco-elastic response of the Earth to the last deglaciation, contributions from global and North Atlantic mean sea level changes, or from wind waves affecting erosion and sediment transport along the subsiding southern Baltic Sea coast. Other examples are storm surges, seiches, or meteotsunamis contributing primarily to sea level extremes. All such processes have undergone considerable variations and changes in the past. For example, over the past about 50 years, the Baltic absolute (geocentric) mean sea level rose at a rate slightly larger than the global average. In the northern parts, due to vertical land movements, relative sea level decreased. Sea level extremes are strongly linked to variability and changes in the large-scale atmospheric circulation. Patterns and mechanisms contributing to erosion and accretion strongly depend on hydrodynamic conditions and their variability. For large parts of the sedimentary shores of the Baltic Sea, the wave climate and the angle at which the waves approach the nearshore are the dominant factors, and coastline changes are highly sensitive to even small variations in these driving forces. Consequently, processes contributing to Baltic sea level dynamics and coastline change are expected to vary and to change in the future leaving their imprint on future Baltic sea level and coastline change and variability. Because of the large number of contributing processes, their relevance for understanding global figures, and the outstanding data availability, we argue that global sea level research and research on coastline changes may greatly benefit from research undertaken in the Baltic Sea.

Ralf Weisse et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on esd-2021-6', Anonymous Referee #1, 17 Mar 2021
  • RC2: 'Comment on esd-2021-6', Anonymous Referee #2, 06 Apr 2021

Ralf Weisse et al.

Ralf Weisse et al.

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Short summary
The study is part of the thematic Baltic Earth Assessment Reports – a series of review papers summarizing the knowledge around major Baltic Earth science topics. It concentrates on sea level dynamics and coastal erosion, its variability and change. Many of the driving processes are relevant in the Baltic Sea. Contributions vary over short distances and across time scales. Progress and research gaps are described in both, understanding details in the region and in extending general concepts.
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