Was pre–twentieth century sea level stable?

Eos, Transactions, American Geophysical Union



Sea level rise (SLR) ranks high on the list of climate change issues because the expected acceleration from the current rate (about 3.1 millimeters per year) poses threats to coastal regions. Tide gauge, salt marsh, and archaeological records, and modeling of glacioisostatic adjustment (GIA) have led to the widely accepted idea that late Holocene (the past ∼2000 years) sea level was stable prior to acceleration beginning around 1850–1900 C.E. For instance, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment Report, before the last century, sea level had “stabilized” over the past 2000 years, rising at a mean rate of 0–0.2 millimeter per year [Bindoff et al. , 2007]. Others maintain that sea level was “nearly stable” over the past few thousand years [Nicholls and Cazenave , 2010], pre–twentieth century rates were “close to zero” [Church et al. , 2008], or “stable from at least BC 100 until AD 950” and “stable, or slightly falling” from 1350 until the nineteenth century [Kemp et al. , 2011].

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Was pre–twentieth century sea level stable?
Series title Eos, Transactions, American Geophysical Union
DOI 10.1029/2011EO490009
Volume 92
Issue 49
Year Published 2011
Language English
Publisher American Geological Union
Contributing office(s) Eastern Geology and Paleoclimate Science Center
Description 2 p.
First page 455
Last page 456
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