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A pre‐industrial sea‐level rise hotspot along the Atlantic coast of North America.

Gehrels, W.R. and Dangendorf, S. and Barlow, N.L.M. and Saher, M.H. and Long, A.J. and Woodworth, P.L. and Piecuch, C.G. and Berk, K. (2020) 'A pre‐industrial sea‐level rise hotspot along the Atlantic coast of North America.', Geophysical research letters., 47 (4). e2019GL085814.


The Atlantic coast of North America north of Cape Hatteras has been proposed as a “hotspot” of late 20th century sea‐level rise. Here we test, using salt‐marsh proxy sea‐level records, if this coast experienced enhanced sea‐level rise over earlier multidecadal‐centennial periods. Whilst we find in agreement with previous studies that 20th century rates of sea‐level change were higher compared to rates during preceding centuries, rates of 18th century sea‐level rise were only slightly lower, suggesting that the “hotspot” is a reoccurring feature for at least three centuries. Proxy sea‐level records from North America (Iceland) are negatively (positively) correlated with centennial changes in the North Atlantic Oscillation. They are consistent with sea‐level “fingerprints” of Arctic ice melt and we therefore hypothesize that sea‐level fluctuations are related to changes in Arctic land‐ice mass balance. Predictions of future sea‐level rise should take into account these long‐term fluctuating rates of natural sea‐level change.

Item Type:Article
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Publisher statement:© 2020. The Authors. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Date accepted:11 February 2020
Date deposited:18 February 2020
Date of first online publication:24 February 2020
Date first made open access:28 February 2020

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