Mar 25, 2011

Climate related sea-level variations over the past two millennia

Andrew C. Kemp, Benjamin P. Horton, Jeffrey P. Donnelly, Michael E. Mann, Martin Vermeer, Stefan Rahmstorf
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
  • 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