North Carolina sea levels rising 3 times faster than in previous 500 Years

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Washington, October 29 (ANI): An international team of environmental scientists has shown that sea-level rise in North Carolina in the US is three times higher than the rate of sea-level rise during the last 500 years.

The study, led by the University of Pennsylvania, has shown that this jump appears to occur between 1879 and 1915, a time of industrial change that may provide a direct link to human-induced climate change.

The rate of relative sea-level rise, or RSLR, during the 20th century was 3 to 3.3 millimeters per year, higher than the usual rate of one per year.

Furthermore, the acceleration appears consistent with other studies from the Atlantic coast, though the magnitude of the acceleration in North Carolina is larger than at sites farther north along the U.S. and Canadian Atlantic coast and may be indicative of a latitudinal trend related to the melting of the Greenland ice sheet.

Understanding the timing and magnitude of this possible acceleration in the rate of RSLR is critical for testing models of global climate change and for providing a context for 21st-century predictions.

"Tide gauge records are largely inadequate for accurately recognizing the onset of any acceleration of relative sea-level rise occurring before the 18th century, mainly because too few records exist as a comparison," said Andrew Kemp, the research paper's lead author.

"Accurate estimates of sea-level rise in the pre-satellite era are needed to provide an appropriate context for 21st-century projections and to validate geophysical and climate models," he added.

The research team studied two North Carolina salt marshes that form continuous accumulations of organic sediment, a natural archive that provides scientists with an accurate way to reconstruct relative sea levels using radiometric isotopes and stratigraphic age markers.

The research provided a record of relative sea-level change since the year 1500 at the Sand Point and Tump Point salt marshes in the Albemarle-Pamlico estuarine system of North Carolina.

The two marshes provided an ideal setting for producing high-resolution records because thick sequences of high marsh sediment are present and the estuarine system is microtidal, which reduces the vertical uncertainty of aleosea-level estimates.

The study provides for the first time replicated sea-level reconstructions from two nearby sites. (ANI)

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