We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to browse this repository, you give consent for essential cookies to be used. You can read more about our Privacy and Cookie Policy.

Durham Research Online
You are in:

Within-region replication of late Holocene relative sea-level change: an example from southern New England, United States

Stearns, RB and Engelhart, SE and Kemp, AC and Hill, TD and Brain, MJ and Corbett, DR (2023) 'Within-region replication of late Holocene relative sea-level change: an example from southern New England, United States.', Quaternary Science Reviews, 300 . p. 107868.


Tide-gauge measurements in the western North Atlantic Ocean show coherent, multi-decadal relative sea-level (RSL) trends across multiple spatial scales. Proxy reconstructions developed from salt-marsh sediment can extend this instrumental record. However, the degree of coherence in proxy reconstructions is underexamined through within-region replication. To explore within-region replication, we developed a new RSL reconstruction from Fox Hill Marsh, Rhode Island to complement similar records at nearby sites. We established the elevation of former sea level from assemblages of foraminifera and bulk-sediment δ13C values using a Bayesian transfer function. We employed radiocarbon dating and recognition of pollution horizons to construct a core chronology. Since ∼1200 BCE, RSL rose by ∼3.7 m at Fox Hill Marsh. After correction for glacial isostatic adjustment, application of a statistical model intended to quantify (multi-) century-scale trends showed that the fastest rate of rise in at least the past 3000 years was 1.71 ± 0.84 mm/yr (95% credible interval) in 2020 CE. This result replicates regional tide-gauge measurements and other proxy reconstructions. Using an alternative statistical model constructed to identify sub-centennial sea-level changes, we examined if there was a hotspot of 18th century rise in the northeastern United States and found no spatially-coherent trend (i.e., occurring at all or most sites). This lack of replication indicates that accelerated rise during the 18th century is likely local (site-specific) in scale, or an artifact of individual reconstructions. Continued efforts to replicate RSL reconstructions will increase confidence in the accuracy of records and their subsequent interpretation.

Item Type:Article
Full text:(VoR) Version of Record
Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives 4.0.
Download PDF
Publisher Web site:
Publisher statement:© 2022 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (
Date accepted:05 November 2022
Date deposited:13 December 2022
Date of first online publication:10 December 2022
Date first made open access:13 December 2022

Save or Share this output

Look up in GoogleScholar