Measuring Sea Level Rise With Much More Certainty

Written by on May 15, 2014 in Other News, Physical Oceanography

Scientists have developed a new method for measuring sea level rise that will address the “controversial topic” of whether the rate of sea level rise is already increasing.

Tide gauge.

Tide gauge. Photo credit: alexhealing via photopin cc.

An international team of researchers, led by the University of Southampton, analyzed data from 10 long-term sea level monitoring stations around the world and identified the timing at which increases in the rate of sea level rise might first be recognized in the future.

Our results show that by 2020 to 2030, we could have some statistical certainty of what the sea level rise situation will look like for the end of the century. That means we’ll know what to expect and have 70 years to plan. In a subject that has so much uncertainty, this gives us the gift of long-term planning,” lead author Dr Ivan Haigh, Lecturer in Coastal Oceanography at the University of Southampton explained in a news release.

The study found that the most important approach to early detection of sea level acceleration involves understanding longer-term variations — from one year to the next, and across multiple decades. By better understanding these variations, researchers will be able to account for their contribution to apparent sea level rise and detect acceleration much earlier.

Dr Haigh notes that “Scientists should continue to update the analysis every 5 to 10 years, creating more certainty in long-term planning — and helping develop solutions for a changing planet.”

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Copyright © 2014 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.

About the Author

About the Author: Emily Tripp is the Publisher and Editor of She holds marine science and biology degrees from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and a Master of Advanced Studies degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. When she's not writing about marine science, she's probably running around outside or playing with her dog. .


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