BR.20.007 – Sea level rise storylines for the Dutch Delta (SeaTales)

Route: The blue route: water as a pathway to innovation and sustainable growth

Cluster question: 007 How can we measure and model the interaction between ice, atmosphere, and ocean so that we can reliably forecast a rise in the sea level?

The large uncertainty and significant impact of future sea level rise on low-lying deltas such as the Netherlands requires an adaptation policy that successfully accommodates deep uncertainty about future developments. Different methods can transfer deep uncertainty into useful decision support processes. The Dynamic Adaptive Policy Pathways approach facilitates the definition of multiple development and policy response pathways to identify crucial drivers and response options. Storylines can be constructed that identify pivotal processes required to generate high impact sea level conditions. In SeaTales we will construct an elaborative ensemble of storylines of future sea level rise drivers and impacts on coastal safety, economic development and implications for land use and ecosystems. The storylines will map these implications for the Dutch delta under different physical and socio-economic boundary conditions and adaptation strategies, and will focus on the identification of physical and societal early warning indicators that may be adopted in adaptation policy planning. The activities consist of (a) an extensive review of literature, projections and assessments in the rapidly developing fields of cryosphere, sea level and coastal impacts, (b) adopting a framework for future socio-economic developments for the Dutch delta, (c) construction of the elaborative ensemble of storylines, (d) exploration of predictive power indicators of imminent processes and trends at different timescales, and (e) synthesis into an actionable early warning system designed to anticipate uncertain and high-impact future conditions. The consortium will be led by a group of Deltares seniors with university affiliation, and experts in the field of physical sea level rise, coastal impacts, socio-economic development, policy planning, system dynamic analysis and science/policy interaction. Close interaction with societal stakeholders is inherent to the project.


adaptive policies, climate communication, climate storylines, coastal adaptation, Sea level rise

Other organisations

Deltares, HZ, KNMI, NIOZ, Technische Universiteit Delft (TUD), Tertium, Utrecht University (UU), VU-IVM


Organisation VU/IVM and Deltares
Name Prof. dr. B. (Bart) van den Hurk