Aug 9, 2017

Spatial and temporal variability of sea‐level rise hotspots over the eastern United States

Valle‐Levinson, Arnoldo, Dutton, Andrea, Martin, Jonathan B.
Geophysical Research Letters
  • Regional sea-level rise (SLR) acceleration during the past few decades north of Cape Hatteras has commonly been attributed to weakening Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, although this causal link remains debated
  • Demonstrates that SLR decelerated north of Cape Hatteras and accelerated south of the Cape to >20 mm/yr, > 3 times the global mean values from 2011-2015
  • Tide gauge records reveal comparable short-lived, rapid SLR accelerations (hot spots) that have occurred repeatedly over ~1500-km stretches of the coastline during the past 95 years, with variable latitudinal position
  • Analysis indicates that the cumulative (time-integrated) effects of the North Atlantic Oscillation determine the latitudinal position of these SLR hot spots, while a cumulative El Niño index is associated with their timing
  • Finds that the superposition of these two ocean-atmospheric processes accounts for 87% of the variance in the spatiotemporal pattern of sub-decadal sea-level oscillations