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Present and future sea levels

Scotland is now experiencing relative sea-level rise. All future projections expect the rate of this rise to speed up.

Central areas of Scotland have been rebounding since the last Scottish ice sheet began to melt 20,000 years ago. This vertical land movement occurred because the ice was no longer pressing down on the land.

For a time, this rebound of the land overtook global sea-level rise. But uplift rates are now modest – no more than 0.6mm per year. At the same time, coastal waters around the UK are rising at rates of up to 2mm per year.

The net result is that the whole of Scotland is now experiencing sea-level rise.

Find out about Scotland’s sea-level history.

UK Climate Projections

A set of scenarios that estimate expected increases in sea level has been published on behalf of the UK Government. Find out about the most recent UK Climate Projections (UKCP09).

You can also generate climate projections or sea-level rise (or other climate variables) for your area of Scotland, using the UK Climate Projections User Interface.

Scottish Natural Heritage research

SNH continues to carry out research into coastal climate change, including relative sea-level rise and its impacts. We publish research findings on this website as they become available.

Find out more about geodiversity and climate change.

Learn about the marine impacts of climate change.