Aug 6, 2013

Does the mid-Atlantic United States sea level acceleration hot spot reflect ocean dynamic variability?

Kopp, Robert E.
Geophysical Research Letters
  • Tests the hypothesis that faster-than-global sea level acceleration is occurring along the mid-Atlantic United States
  • Constructs a Gaussian process model that decomposes tide gauge data into short-term variability and longer-term trends, and into globally coherent, regionally coherent, and local components
  • Finds that while tide gauge records indicate a faster-than-global increase in the rate of mid-Atlantic U.S. sea level rise beginning 1975, this acceleration could reflect either the start of a long-term trend or ocean dynamic variability
  • States the acceleration will need to continue for 2 decades before the rate of increase of the sea level difference between the mid-Atlantic and southeastern U.S. can be judged as very likely unprecedented by 20th century standards
  • States the difference is correlated with the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation, North Atlantic Oscillation, and Gulf Stream North Wall indices, all of which are currently within the range of past variability