Andrew C. Kemp, Benjamin P. Horton, Jeffrey P. Donnelly, Michael E. Mann, Martin Vermeer, Stefan Rahmstorf

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Published date March 25, 2011

Climate related sea-level variations over the past two millennia

  • Presents new sea-level reconstructions for the past 2100 y based on salt-marsh sedimentary sequences from the US Atlantic coast
  • Looks at data from North Carolina that reveal four phases of persistent sea-level change after correction for glacial isostatic adjustment
  • Finds that sea level was stable from at least BC 100 until AD 950 and then increased for 400 years at a rate of 0.6 mm/year, followed by a further period of stable, or slightly falling, sea level that persisted until the late 19th century
  • Finds that, since the late 19th century, sea level has risen at an average rate of 2.1 mm/y, representing the steepest century-scale increase of the past two millennia
  • Finds the rate was initiated between AD 1865 and 1892
  • Uses an extended semiempirical modeling approach, and shows that these sea-level changes are consistent with global temperature for at least the past millennium