Sea level rise in the 20th century was at its fastest rate in 2,000 years across much of the east coast

Sea level rise in the 20th century along much of the U.S. Atlantic coast was at its fastest rate in 2,000 years, while southern New Jersey had the fastest levels, according to a study conducted by directed by Rutgers.

The global rise in sea level from melting ice and warming oceans from 1900 to 2000 has led to a rate that is more than double the years 0 to 1800 – the most significant change, according to the study in the journal Nature Communication.

The study looked for the first time at the onions that contributed to sea level change over 2,000 years at six coastal sites (in Connecticut, New York City, New Jersey and North Carolina), use of sea level budget. A budget promotes an understanding of the processes that drive sea level change. The processes are global, regional (including geological, such as land circulation) and local, such as groundwater abstraction.

“A detailed understanding of sea level change at sites over the long term is critical to regional and local planning and responding to future sea level rise,” said lead author Jennifer S. Walker, is a postgraduate fellow in the Department of Earth and Planning Sciences in the School of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers-New Brunswick University. “By learning how different processes change over time and contribute to sea ​​level change, we can more accurately estimate future contributions at specific sites. “

Rising sea levels arising from climate change threaten to permanently disrupt islands, cities and land. It also increases the risk of flooding and damage from coastal storms and more.

Most budget studies at sea level are global and limited to the 20th and 21st centuries. Researchers led by Rutgers estimated sea level budgets for longer time spans over 2,000 years. The aim was to gain a better understanding of how sea level management processes have changed and will continue to change in the future, and this approach to sea level budgeting could to be applied to other sites around the world.

Using a statistical model, scientists developed sea level budgets for six sites, dividing sea level records into global, regional and local segments. They found that the subsoil of regional land – sinking the land since the Laurentide ice sheet went back thousands of years ago – is gaining control over the budget of each site over the past 2,000 years. gone. Other regional factors, such as ocean dynamics, and site-specific local processes, such as the abstraction of groundwater that helps to land, contribute much less to each budget and change over time and place.

The highest rate of sea level rise for each of the six sites in the 20th century (ranging from 2.6 to 3.6 millimeters per year, or about 1 to 1.4 inches per decade) was at its fastest. in 2,000 years. Southern New Jersey had the fastest rates over the 2,000-year period: 1.6 millimeters per year (approximately 0.63 inches per decade) at Edwin Forsythe National Wildlife, Leeds Peninsula, Atlantic County and 1.5 millimeters per year (approximately 0.6 inches per decade) at Cape May Courthouse, Cape May County. Other sites included East River Bog in Guilford, Connecticut; Pelham Bay, The Bronx, New York City; Cheesequake State Park in Old Bridge, New Jersey; and Roanoke Island in North Carolina.


Rutgers coauthors include Robert E. Kopp, professor in the Department of Earth Sciences and Planning in the Rutgers-New Brunswick University School of Arts and Sciences and director of the Rutgers Institute of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences ; and Erica L. Ashe, a postdoctoral scientist in the Department of Earth and Planning Sciences. Scientists at Nanyang University of Technology, Maynooth University, Hong Kong University, Bryn Mawr College, Durham University, Liverpool Hope University and the University of East Carolina contributed to the study.

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