14 Apr 2023
 | 14 Apr 2023
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ESSD.

Reconstruction of hourly coastal water levels and counterfactuals without sea level rise for impact attribution

Simon Treu, Sanne Muis, Sönke Dangendorf, Thomas Wahl, Julius Oelsmann, Stefanie Heinicke, Katja Frieler, and Matthias Mengel

Abstract. Rising seas are a threat for human and natural systems along coastlines. The relation between global warming and sea-level rise is established, but the quantification of impacts of historical sea-level rise on a global scale is largely absent. To foster such quantification, we here present a reconstruction of historical hourly (1979–2015) and monthly (1900–2015) coastal water levels and a corresponding counterfactual without long-term trends in sea level. The dataset pair allows for impact attribution studies that quantify the contribution of sea level rise to observed changes in coastal systems following the definition of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Impacts are ultimately caused by water levels that are relative to the local land height, which makes the inclusion of vertical land motion a necessary step. Also, many impacts are driven by sub-daily extreme water levels. To capture these aspects, the factual data combines reconstructed geocentric sea level on a monthly time scale since 1900, vertical land motion since 1900 and hourly storm-tide variations since 1979. The inclusion of observation-based vertical land motion brings the trends of the combined dataset closer to tide gauge records in most cases, but outliers remain. Daily maximum water levels get in closer agreement with tide gauges through the inclusion of intra-annual ocean density variations. The counterfactual data is derived from the factual data through subtraction of the quadratic trend. The dataset is made available openly through the Inter-Sectoral Impact Model Intercomparison Project (ISIMIP).

Simon Treu 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 essd-2023-112', Anonymous Referee #1, 12 May 2023
  • RC2: 'Comment on essd-2023-112', Anonymous Referee #2, 05 Jun 2023
  • AC1: 'Comment on essd-2023-112', Simon Treu, 02 Oct 2023

Simon Treu et al.

Data sets

Water levels at tide gauges from: Reconstruction of hourly coastal water levels and counterfactuals without sea level rise for impact attribution S. Treu, S. Muis, S. Dangendorf, T. Wahl, J. Oelsmann, S. Heinicke, K. Frieler, and M. Mengel

Model code and software

Source code of: Reconstruction of hourly coastal water levels and counterfactuals without sea level rise for impact attribution Simon Treu

Simon Treu et al.


Total article views: 653 (including HTML, PDF, and XML)
HTML PDF XML Total BibTeX EndNote
453 179 21 653 10 11
  • HTML: 453
  • PDF: 179
  • XML: 21
  • Total: 653
  • BibTeX: 10
  • EndNote: 11
Views and downloads (calculated since 14 Apr 2023)
Cumulative views and downloads (calculated since 14 Apr 2023)

Viewed (geographical distribution)

Total article views: 643 (including HTML, PDF, and XML) Thereof 643 with geography defined and 0 with unknown origin.
Country # Views %
  • 1
Latest update: 28 Nov 2023
Short summary
This article discusses the impact of rising sea levels on coastal areas. It describes a reconstruction of monthly coastal water levels from 1900–2015, and hourly data from 1979–2015, both with and without long-term sea level rise. The dataset is based on a combination of three datasets that are focused on different aspects of coastal water levels. Comparison with tide gauge records shows that this combination brings reconstructions closer to the observations compared to the individual datasets.