Ocean Science

Going Up

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Science  06 Jul 2012:
Vol. 337, Issue 6090, pp. 14
DOI: 10.1126/science.337.6090.14-a
CREDIT: ASSOCIATED PRESS

Models of dynamic sea-level rise have demonstrated that sea-level increases caused by global warming will not be the same in all locations, because changes in ocean circulation, temperature, and salinity; the redistribution of mass owing to the melting of ice sheets; and the resulting changes in the shape and rotation of Earth all affect the regional expression of sea surface height. These models predict that one region in which sea level should rise most rapidly is along the northeast coast of the United States. Sallenger et al. examined tide gauge records from around the entire perimeter of the county, finding that such a hot spot already exists and that the rate at which sea level is rising there is three to four times the global average, consistent with model predictions. The rise is also correlated to the rate of melting of the Greenland ice sheet, in concert with a slowing of deep circulation in the Atlantic.

Nat. Clim. Change 2, 10.1038/NCLIMATE1597 (2012).

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