An international team of environmental scientists says that sea-level rise along the Atlantic Coast of the United States in the 20th century was 2 millimeters faster than at any point in the last 4,000 years.
Sea-level rise prior to the 20th century is generally attributed to coastal subsidence. This occurs as land is lost to subsidence as the earth continues to rise in response to the removal of the huge weight of ice sheets during the last glacial period.
Using sediment cores from the U.S. Atlantic coast, researchers found significant spatial variations in land movement, with the mid-Atlantic coastlines of New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland subsiding twice as much as areas to the north and south. Coastal subsidence enhances sea-level rise, which leads to shoreline erosion and loss of wetlands and threatens coastal populations.
The Researchers corrected relative sea-level data from tide gauges using the coastal-subsidence values. Results clearly show that the 20th-century rate of sea-level rise is 2 millimeters higher than the background rate of the past 4,000 years. Furthermore, the magnitude of the sea-level rise increases in a southerly direction from Maine to South Carolina. This is the first demonstrated evidence of this phenomenon from observational data alone. The team believes this may be related to the melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet and ocean thermal expansion.
The authors claim their study provides the first accurate dataset for sea-level rise for the U.S. Atlantic coast, identifying regional differences that arise from variations in subsidence and demonstrate the possible effects of ice-sheet melting and thermal expansion for sea level rise.
"There is universal agreement that sea level will rise as a result of global warming but by how much, when and where it will have the most effect is unclear," said Ben Horton, assistant professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Science at Penn. "Such information is vital to governments, commerce and the general public. An essential prerequisite for accurate prediction is understanding how sea level has responded to past climate changes and how these were influenced by geological events such as land movements."
Citation: Simon E. Engelhart, Benjamin P. Horton, Bruce C. Douglas, W. Richard Peltier, Torbjörn E. Törnqvist 'Spatial variability of late Holocene and 20th century sea-level rise along the Atlantic coast of the United States', Geology 2009, 37(12), 1115-1118; doi: 10.1130/G30360A.1
- PHYSICAL SCIENCES
- EARTH SCIENCES
- LIFE SCIENCES
- SOCIAL SCIENCES
Subscribe to the newsletter
Stay in touch with the scientific world!
Know Science And Want To Write?
- Moderate Pot Use By Adolescents Doesn't Hurt IQ
- Finding Fracking Fluids In The Environment
- Dopamine Receptor Agonist Drugs Linked To Gambling And Hypersexuality
- What's Hiding Under The Clouds Of Venus - Heavy Metal Frost?
- Ashes And Vegetables: The Diet Of Roman Gladiators Was Rather Poor
- Manly Men And Feminine Women Are Not Evolutionary Mandates - They Are Urban Ones
- Government Math: More Will Lose Health Insurance Than Gained It If ACA Subsidies Are Eliminated
- "Hey maybe it's not showing correctly on my iPad, but the link you included doesn't go directly..."
- "Our daughter had a serious adverse reaction to the MMR. When the HPV vaccine was offered we opted..."
- "Just like how the ability to learn language is ingrained, not any specific language, so certain..."
- "Since there's no actual link between vaccines and autism, I think the phrase Vaccines have been..."
- "I'll not argue that humanity made God in their image, because we sought to explain something we..."
- Despite resistance, China will dominate future of GMOs
- Should Science and Nature run advertorial by wacky Dr. Bronner’s that misleads on GMOs?
- Jack the Ripper’s identity remains a mystery after error in DNA analysis revealed
- Seed patent primer: Is the use of GMOs preventing farmers from reusing their seeds?
- History of penetrative sex reveals unexpected reversal in evolution
- Bleeding of Aloha: Ugliness of the anti-GMO movement in Hawaii
- UCSF researchers identify key factor in transition from moderate to problem drinking
- Expert highlights research innovation and is optimistic about the future of IBS treatment
- Alternate approach to traditional CPR saves lives
- Once CD8 T cells take on one virus, they'll fight others too
- 11 million will lose health insurance if ACA subsidies are eliminated, study finds