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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Andrew C. Kemp et al., Geology, 2009, Timing and magnitude of recent accelerated sea-level rise (North Carolina, United States)

Geology (November 2009), Vol. 37, No. 11, pp. 1035-1038; DOI: 10.1130/G30352A.1

Timing and magnitude of recent accelerated sea-level rise (North Carolina, United States)

Andrew C. Kemp1,*, Benjamin P. Horton1,*, Stephen J. Culver2, D. Reide Corbett2, Orson van de Plassche3, W. Roland Gehrels4, Bruce C. Douglas5 and Andrew C. Parnell6  

1 Sea-Level Research Laboratory, Department of Earth and Environmental Science, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, U.S.A.
2 Department of Geological Sciences, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC 27858, U.S.A.
3 Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences, VU University, 1081 HV Amsterdam, Netherlands
4 School of Geography, University of Plymouth, Plymouth PL4 8AA, U.K.
5 International Hurricane Center, Florida International University, Miami, FL 33199, U.S.A.
6 School of Mathematical Sciences (Statistics), University College Dublin, Dublin 4, Ireland


We provide records of relative sea level since A.D. 1500 from two salt marshes in North Carolina to complement existing tide-gauge records and to determine when recent rates of accelerated sea-level rise commenced. Reconstructions were developed using foraminifera-based transfer functions and composite chronologies, which were validated against regional twentieth century tide-gauge records. The measured rate of relative sea-level rise in North Carolina during the twentieth century was 3.0–3.3 mm/a, consisting of a background rate of ~1 mm/a, plus an abrupt increase of 2.2 mm/a, which began between A.D. 1879 and 1915. This acceleration is broadly synchronous with other studies from the Atlantic coast. The magnitude of the acceleration at both sites is larger than at sites farther north along the U.S. and Canadian Atlantic coast and may be indicative of a latitudinal trend.

*Correspondence e-mails:;

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