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Spatial variability of late Holocene and 20 (super th) century sea-level rise along the Atlantic coast of the United States

Simon E. Engelhart, Benjamin P. Horton, Bruce C. Douglas, W. Richard Peltier and Torbjorn E. Tornqvist
Spatial variability of late Holocene and 20 (super th) century sea-level rise along the Atlantic coast of the United States
Geology (Boulder) (December 2009) 37 (12): 1115-1118

Abstract

Accurate estimates of global sea-level rise in the pre-satellite era provide a context for 21 (super st) century sea-level predictions, but the use of tide-gauge records is complicated by the contributions from changes in land level due to glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA). We have constructed a rigorous quality-controlled database of late Holocene sea-level indices from the U.S. Atlantic coast, exhibiting subsidence rates of <0.8 mm a (super -1) in Maine, increasing to rates of 1.7 mm a (super -1) in Delaware, and a return to rates <0.9 mm a (super -1) in the Carolinas. This pattern can be attributed to ongoing GIA due to the demise of the Laurentide Ice Sheet. Our data allow us to define the geometry of the associated collapsing proglacial forebulge with a level of resolution unmatched by any other currently available method. The corresponding rates of relative sea-level rise serve as background rates on which future sea-level rise must be superimposed. We further employ the geological data to remove the GIA component from tide-gauge records to estimate a mean 20 (super th) century sea-level rise rate for the U.S. Atlantic coast of 1.8+ or -0.2 mm a (super -1) , similar to the global average. However, we find a distinct spatial trend in the rate of 20 (super th) century sea-level rise, increasing from Maine to South Carolina. This is the first evidence of this phenomenon from observational data alone. We suggest this may be related to the melting of the Greenland ice sheet and/or ocean steric effects.


ISSN: 0091-7613
EISSN: 1943-2682
Coden: GLGYBA
Serial Title: Geology (Boulder)
Serial Volume: 37
Serial Issue: 12
Title: Spatial variability of late Holocene and 20 (super th) century sea-level rise along the Atlantic coast of the United States
Affiliation: University of Pennsylvania, Department of Earth and Environmental Science, Philadelphia, PA, United States
Pages: 1115-1118
Published: 200912
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of America (GSA), Boulder, CO, United States
References: 45
Accession Number: 2010-007903
Categories: Quaternary geology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Annotation: With GSA Data Repository Item 2009276
Illustration Description: illus. incl. sketch map
N38°27'00" - N39°52'00", W75°47'60" - W75°02'60"
N43°00'00" - N47°30'00", W71°04'60" - W67°00'00"
N41°15'00" - N42°55'00", W73°30'00" - W69°55'00"
N40°30'00" - N45°00'00", W79°45'00" - W71°55'00"
N33°49'60" - N36°34'60", W84°15'00" - W75°30'00"
Secondary Affiliation: Florida International University, USA, United StatesUniversity of Toronto, CAN, CanadaTulane University, USA, United States
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data from GeoScienceWorld, Alexandria, VA, United States. Reference includes data supplied by the Geological Society of America, Boulder, CO, United States
Update Code: 201005
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