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NSF Highlight: Fastest sea-level rise in two millennia linked to increasing global temperatures

NSF Highlight: Fastest sea-level rise in two millennia linked to increasing global temperatures

The rate of sea-level rise along the U.S. Atlantic coast is greater now than at any time in the past 2,000 years--and has shown a consistent link between changes in global mean surface temperature and sea level. The findings are published this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

The research, funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), was conducted by Andrew Kemp, Yale University; Benjamin Horton, University of Pennsylvania; Jeffrey Donnelly, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution; Michael Mann, Pennsylvania State University; Martin Vermeer, Aalto University School of Engineering, Finland; and Stefan Rahmstorf, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Germany.

"Having a detailed picture of rates of sea-level change over the past two millennia provides an important context for understanding current and potential future changes," says Paul Cutler, program director in NSF's Division of Earth Sciences.

"It's especially valuable for anticipating the evolution of coastal systems," he says, "in which more than half the world's population now lives."