Monday, January 8, 2007

Twenthith century sea level change

Here is an example of a really nice abstract. I can just copy and paste it because most everyone can understand it.

GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 34, L01602, doi:10.1029/2006GL028492, 2007

On the decadal rates of sea level change during the twentieth century


Nine long and nearly continuous sea level records were chosen from around the world to explore rates of change in sea level for 1904–2003. These records were found to capture the variability found in a larger number of stations over the last half century studied previously. Extending the sea level record back over the entire century suggests that the high variability in the rates of sea level change observed over the past 20 years were not particularly unusual. The rate of sea level change was found to be larger in the early part of last century (2.03 ± 0.35 mm/yr 1904–1953), in comparison with the latter part (1.45 ± 0.34 mm/yr 1954–2003). The highest decadal rate of rise occurred in the decade centred on 1980 (5.31 mm/yr) with the lowest rate of rise occurring in the decade centred on 1964 (−1.49 mm/yr). Over the entire century the mean rate of change was 1.74 ± 0.16 mm/yr.

Now there is a well written piece of science.

This research extends the sea level record back to 1904 and shows that recent sea level variability is not unusual and that recent sea level change is not greater than at other recent time periods.

How will this impact the climate change question?

It is counter intuitive, considering glacier melt and thermal expansion, that sea level change was greater in the early part of the twentieth century rather than the later. This finding seems to further cloud the waters (yes, pun intended) as to what the dynamics of sea level change are. What is the impact of warming and glacier melt on sea level? What other influences are there that could make oceans rise more quickly in the frist half of the century? This, as the saying goes, requires further study.

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