Study finds incredibly rapid sea level rise around southeastern US and Gulf Coast

Sea level rise is transforming the United States coastline across the country, bu rResearchers have noticed that the rate of sea level rise has increased faster over the past decade around the gulf And Southeast coasts.

In a new study published in Nature Communications, researchers from Tulane University found rates of seallevel elevation of about 10 mm (00.4 inches) per year around the Gulf and Southeast States since 2010.

They compared a combination of ground and satellite measurements from 1900 to 2021 and noticed record rates of sea level rise over the past 12 years. The researchers spoke of the accelerated pace as “unprecedented for at least 120 years”. Just under half an inch of sea level rise may seem low, but mean sea level has risen by about 0.14 inch per year since the early 1990s, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. They also noticed that the acceleration extends from the Gulf of Mexico to Cape Hatteras in North Carolina. Upper-that-average rates of sea level rise have also been recorded In the Caribbean.

The team examined different factors that could have affected the loss of ice mass and atmospheric pressure in the region. They couldn’t relate them to sea level rise in the gulf and the southeast. Because of this, they came to the conclusion that it is the result of man-caused climate change combined with the natural variability of the ocean. Over the past 12 years, accelerated rates of sea level rise have been correlated with the expansion of the subtropical gyre that includes the North Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean, according to the study. Swirls are systems of rotating ocean currents. Owarming oceans and changing winds have altered currents in the gyre, according to the study. Ococking water expandsthat Ccontributed to some of the rapid sea level rise.

It is unclear whether or how ocean variability will continue. The observed rate of sea level rise has worsened coastal floods, a trend Already set in motion by climate change. “These high rates of sea level rise have put even more pressure on these vulnerable coasts, especially in Louisiana and Texas where the land is also sinking rapidly,” said co-author and professor Torbjörn Törnqvist. of environmental science at Tulane, said in a statement.

Tornqvist is right. Gulf States like Louisiana fights erosion. According to data from the US Geological Survey, this state has lost approximately 2,000 square miles of land between 1932 and 2016. That’s an area larger than the state of Rhode Island. According to General of Texas Land Office64% of Texas The coast erodes about 6 feet per year, and the average rate of erosion for this state is about 4 feet per year. Sea level rise has long been a known risk to the Florida coast, but floods and high tides are expected to occur more often in sunny conditions in the near future. Increased flooding has also disrupted the real estate market, as homeowners in flood prone areas could see real estate values ​​fall.

“The results, once again, demonstrate the urgency of the climate crisis for the Gulf region. We need interdisciplinary and collaborative efforts to sustainably address these challenges,” said Sönke Dangendorf, study author and a Professor Tulane.

Want more climate and environment stories? Check out Earthher’s guides for decarbonize your home, get rid of fossil fuels, packing a disaster duffel bagAnd overcoming climate fear. And don’t miss our coverage of latest IPCC climate reportthe future of removal of carbon dioxideand the unbleached facts about bioplastics And plastic recycling.

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