Sea Level Rise Quickening Along US Atlantic Coast
    By News Staff | December 10th 2009 12:00 AM | 5 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    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


    Since GW is a fraud . . . please explain how it causes the seas to rise?
    CO2 is 38 thousandths of the atmosphere . . . the globe has been cooling for a decade, the ice caps are frozen and are stable or gaining mass. The komputer modellers are resigning from East Anglia and some may be charged.

    Climate has been warming/cooling/changing for Billions of years and will continue to change.
    The sky is not falling...Get over it Chicken Little....

    Gerhard Adam
    It's always amazing how people can think that because a cycle has occurred before that there is nothing to be concerned about, so it's all a fraud.

    One thing that was NOT here before, was 6.7 billion human beings.  Now, while the earth certainly has no concern, nor vested interest in keeping them around, then I fully concur that the "sky is not falling".  However, if humans are interested in being prepared, in case something is afoot, then I suggest they pay attention and stop listening to "talking heads" for their science.

    Of course, East Anglia had to be mentioned, since clearly the implication is that ALL scientific research is centered in one location.  Regardless of East Anglia (and no, I'm not apologizing, nor do I think that scientists are above lying when it suits them - just like other human beings), the reality is that information comes from many sources.  So if this particular scandal is your idea of proof in any fashion, then you need to get a better grip on how data is analyzed.

    Mundus vult decipi
    Very well said, Gerhard. Certainly global warming has occurred in this planet's history. But let's take a look at one of those times, namely the Cretaceous period during the Mesozoic Era. Now as a result of the super-continent of Pangea splitting into separate and smaller continents as a result of a huge rift forming which we now refer to as the mid-Atlantic ridge, tremendous amounts of greenhouse gases were released into the atmosphere by an unimaginable level of volcanic activity, which in time led to a runaway greenhouse effect.  During this time you could swim comfortably in the tepid waters of Antarctica. Each and every single day there were violent thunderstorms across the globe far more powerful than the worst storms that humankind has ever witness while on this planet. I'd be willing to bet more dinosaurs were killed by lightning strikes during this time than from any other cause. The global climate was so unstable that the Earth was on the verge of becoming like its sister planet Venus. And this is not this first time this has happened on our planet, although it is perhaps the most extreme case. So, we're not guessing what would happen if greenhouse gases such as CO2 and the more potent methane when released from it's frozen form of methane hydrate in the oceans, not to mention the rarely mentioned "super-greenhouse gases" were to reach levels where we would have a galloping greenhouse effect. We KNOW what will happen, based of what has happened in the past in Earth's history. This is not conjecture, but well documented fact.

    Now since the advent of the industrial revolution there has been a steady increase in atmospheric levels of CO2. It's not that we don't need CO2 in our atmosphere. It is a useful gas, necessary to the health of the flora of this planet. But when the emission levels far exceed what the flora of this planet and mirco-organism such as cyano-bacteria can take in, then we have a problem. And this is what has been and is presently happening. And if you doubt it, then take a look at the data from NOAA:
    But then of course you may dismiss the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration - National Climatic Data Center as a crackpot organization who don't know what they're doing or talking about.

    Many times I have heard the expression: "Save our planet" or "Save our Earth". Well, it's not the Earth that is in danger, but rather we and our own existence! The Earth will go on long after our species is nothing more than a small layer in the fossil record, if were lucky enough to be even that! How soon that happens to some degree is up to us. There are some things in nature over which we have no control, but this isn't one of them. But, if you want to bury your head in the sand and deny that there is even a problem largely created by us, then let me say this: It won't be you who will have to suffer the consequences, but your grand children and their children and possibly even your own children.

    Flooding in East Anglia in 1953 caused the deaths of more than 300 people.  Since then there have been many serious flood events. I find it astounding that any resident of East Anglia could shrug off the ever increasing risk to their homes, livelihoods and lives as a 'fraud'.

    The east coast of England is particularly vulnerable to storm surge flood events exacerbated by sea-level rise and large-scale land subsidence. East coast storm surges have been extremely devastating in the past, such as the events of 31 January to 1 February 1953 which killed more than 300 people in the U.K. Sea defences in eastern England were raised and strengthened after the 1953 event, but they are nearing the end of their 50-year lifetime.

    In coastal East Anglia flooding is an issue never far from people's minds.