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Sea Level Rise


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The causes and effects of sea level rise. Also how and why we know it is occurring.

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Sea Level Rise

  1. 1. Sea Level RiseKeygan Sands
  2. 2. Causes Thermal expansion (1.2-1.6 mm/yr)* Glacial/ice cap melting(0.4 mm/yr from 1961-1990, 1.0 mm/yr since2001)* Greenland and Antarcticice sheet melting(greatest potentialcontribution, someuncertainty)*NASA 2012*Church 2008
  3. 3. Effects• Coastal flooding andinundation*• Storm surge events(Bay of Bengalevents, HurricaneKatrina)*• Coastal erosion (70% ofworldwide beaches are eroded)*Nicholls 2007Nicholls 2010*Church 2008
  4. 4. Effects (cont.)• Aquifer intrusion*• Habitatdestruction**• Effects on coastsheightened due toexisting humanpressures***WA Dept. of EcologyNicholls 2007*WA Dept. of Ecology**Galbraith 2002***Nicholls 2007
  5. 5. Effects (cont.)Nicholls 2007• Adaptation harder fordeveloping countries*• 0.05-0.11m sea levelrise expected by2100*• Could be closer to 1mwith newpredictions***Nicholls 2007**Vermeer 2009
  6. 6. What has Been Observed?Church 2008Nicholls 2010• 3 mm/yr sea level rise*Historic:• Sea level 4-6m higher in lastinterglacial period*• Little net change from 2,000 yrsago to 19th century*• 1mm/yr rise in early 20thcentury, 2mm/yr untilrecently**• Trends confirmed by otherdata, including sediment*Church 2008**Skeptical Science***Donnelly 2004
  7. 7. Erroneous ConclusionsMYTH: sea level rise is exaggeratedWhy is this incorrect, besides the observationsproving it wrong?
  8. 8. Accurate Predictions/Conclusions Must take into account: Elimination of “noisy signals”* Isostatic adjustment and tectonicinfluence* Inverse barometer effect* El Nino and other oscillations** Extra evidence: Data agreement (tidal gaugedata, sedimentaryrecords, satellite data confirmtrends)* Mathematical confirmation (98% ofthe variance in sea level rise isexplained by increasing globaltemperature)***Nicholls 2010*Skeptical Science**Church 2008***Vermeer 2009
  9. 9. BibliographyChurch, J. A., White, N. J., Aarup, T., Wilson, W. S., Woodworth, P. L., Domingues, C. M., Hunter, J. R., andLambeck, K. (2008). Understanding global sea levels: past, present and future. SustainableScience 3, 9-22.Donnelly, J. P., Cleary, P., Newby, P., and Ettinger, R. (2004). Coupling instrumental and geological records ofsea-level change: Evidence from southern New England of an increase in the rate of sea-level rise inthe late 19th century. Geophysical Research Letters 31, 1-4.Galbraith, H., Jones, R., Park, R., Clough, J., Herrod-Julius, S., Harrington, B., and Page, G. (2002). GlobalClimate Change and Sea Level Rise: Potential Losses of Intertidal Habitat for Shorebirds. Waterbirds25, 173-183.“How much is sea level rising?” Skeptical Science. < sea-level-rise-intermediate.htm>Huppert, D. D., Moore, A., and Dyson, K. (2007). Impacts of Climate Change on the Coasts of WashingtonState. The Washington Climate Change Impacts Assessment chapter 8, 285-309.Nicholls, R. J., and Cazenave, A. (2010). Sea-Level Rise and Its Impact on Coastal Zones. Science 328, 1517-1520.Nicholls, R. J., Wong, P. P., Burkett, V. R., Codignotto, J. O., Hay, J. E., McLean, R. F., Ragoonaden, S., andWoodroffe, C. D. (2007). Coastal systems and low-lying areas. Climate Change 2007: Impacts,Adaptation and Vulnerability. Contribution of Working Group II to the Fourth Assessment Report of theIntergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, M.L. Parry, O.F. Canziani, J.P. Palutikof, P.J. van derLinden and C.E. Hanson, Eds., Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, 315-356.“Rising Sea Level.” Washington Department of Ecology. <>Vermeer, M. and Rahmstorf, S. (2009). Global sea level linked to global temperature. PNAS 106, 21527-21532.Vinas, Maria-Jose (2012). “Satellites See Unprecedented Greenland Ice Sheet Surface Melt.” NASA.<>