Researchers in Britain say they've developed a new method to help the world's coasts adapt to global sea-level rises over the next 100 years.
While future sea-level rise seems inevitable with climate change, the rates and geographical patterns of the increases remain uncertain, they said.
Current methods of assessing the potential impact of sea-level rise have yielded results that vary significantly, holding back the development of suitable adaption policies and planning, they said.
A new study led by the University of Southampton has combined the available data on a number of different mechanisms that contribute to sea-level change, both climate and non-climate -- such as uplift, subsidence and natural phenomena like earthquakes -- to create appropriate scenarios of sea-level rise at any location for policy-makers considering impacts and adaption.
"The goal here is not to 'scare people' but rather to encourage policy makers to think across the full range of possibilities," study leader Robert Nicholls said.
"Given that the uncertainties of sea-level rise are global, this approach will probably be widely applicable around the world's coasts, especially in major coastal cities with high values and growing flood risk," he said.