2 Foot Sea Level Rise Along US East Coast, Not Due to Global Warming


Image via: Getty Images

What? Double what? The sea rose 2 feet along the US east coast this summer? Seems like the only sea level rise we ever hear about happens on islands in the Pacific. And now we're finding out, thanks to National Geographic News, that it was not directly due to global warming? What is going on? Find out more after the jump.Scientists at the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration noticed reports of seas rising much higher along coastal property lines this summer through the months of June and July. This is typically the sort of thing seen after a tropical storm, for example, except this time it lingered for close to two months. Scientists have several mechanisms to use for predicting seasonal tidal changes, such as the moon, but even those couldn't explain the changes.

Turns out it's something worse than just plain, old global warming. Apparently this summer there was a weakened Gulf Stream and stronger than usual winds from the northeastern Atlantic. Dun dun dunnn. While scientists have identified these two as the cause of the higher than normal sea level rise, they're not sure what caused these conditions in the first place. The Gulf Stream typically pulls water towards it and away from the east coast - the weaker than normal pull meant more water was allowed to crash on shore. Local fishers were also able to notice the increase winds that came earlier than normal, as well as the changing coast lines. A few stretches of beach were covered up or washed away.

Maybe the change is due to the mild El Nino that we are currently experiencing. Or possibly this change is ultimately related to global warming after all. A slowing down of the Gulf Stream is one predicted change due to global warming - which will potentially alter the climate all along Europe's western countries. At this time scientists still are not saying. Fortunately no major flooding or damage was reported. This time... : National Geographic News
More on Sea Level Rise
Interactive Sea Level Rise Explorer
Sea Level Rise Best Case Scenario: 50cm Rise, 10% World Pop Hit
Nile Delta Poised to be Sunk by Sea Level Rise - Groundwater Salinity Already a Growing Problem
Flood Maps: View Sea Level Rise

Tags: Beaches | Global Climate Change | Natural Disasters | Oceans | United States

Best of TreeHugger