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Cause of Atlantic Sea Level Rise Hotspots Uncovered

Source: Phys.org/Stephenie Livingston/University of Florida - August 10, 2017 in Science/Tech

Cause of Atlantic Sea Level Rise Hotspots Uncovered
Photo: Tony Hisgett/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 2.0)

Sea level rise hot spots—bursts of accelerated sea rise that last three to five years—happen along the U.S. East Coast thanks to a one-two punch from naturally occurring climate variations, a new University of Florida study shows.

After UF scientists identified a hot spot reaching from Cape Hatteras to Miami, they probed the causes by analyzing tidal and climate data for the U.S. eastern seaboard. The new study, published online today in Geophysical Research Letters, shows that seas rose in the southeastern U.S. between 2011 and 2015 by more than six times the global average  that is already happening due to human-induced global warming.

The study’s findings suggest that future sea level rise resulting from global warming will also have these hot spot periods superimposed on top of steadily rising seas, said study co-author Andrea Dutton, assistant professor in UF’s department of geological sciences in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

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