Online Originals: What rising sea levels could mean for coastal cities

Online Originals

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — Scientists say they have a better understanding of what’s driving rising sea levels. A study with East Carolina University researchers took a look at factors from a local to global scale.  

East Carolina’s Outer Banks campus was one of the study sites. The study found that sea levels along the East coast have increased at their fastest rate in the prior 100 years compared to the past 2,000 years.

Common Era sea-level budgets along the U.S. Atlantic coast

Scientists say the global component, ice melting and warming oceans, has contributed significantly to the recent increase.  

Sea-level budget compared with climate proxies over the Common Era

Dr. Reide Corbett from ECU was one of the researchers on the study. He said studies like these are crucial to guiding better planning for these regions.  

The key is that we have a well-informed, constituents, stakeholders, such that policies, you know, codes, can be put in place, that create a more resilient coast, and you cannot do that until you have a good understanding of the science.

Dr. Reide Corbett, Dean ECU Integrated Coastal Programs

Two sites in southern New Jersey had the fastest rates of the six sites over the 2,000-year period, with both experiencing sea-level rise at more than half an inch per decade.

Scientists warn sea-level rise stemming from climate change threatens to permanently inundate low-lying islands, cities and lands and heightens their vulnerability to flooding and damage from coastal and other storms.

The broader understanding of drivers and the practical application of methods are imperative for informing regional and local decision-makers when it comes to planning and responding to sea-level rise.

To see the full study, click here.

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