Article written by guest writer Kecia Lynn

What's the Latest Development?

A recent study published in Journal of Coastal Research confirms two other studies that claim that sea levels have been rising at an accelerated pace along the northeastern coast of North America. John Boon of the Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences analyzed monthly records at 23 tidal stations between Florida and Newfoundland. He found that for all eight stations north of North Carolina with records that go back more than 75 years, sea levels began an "unprecedented" rapid rise starting in 1987. He says, "It's not just that sea level is increasing [at these stations], but that the rate at which it's increasing is increasing as well. That can cause future sea level to be significantly higher than if the rise rate were constant."

What's the Big Idea?

While these findings are definitely cause for concern among communities and planners in the affected areas, Boon includes warnings and caveats in his report. These include awareness of month-to-month sea level variations that can be affected by current weather changes, and acknowledgement that his conclusions were based on past tide-gauge records, which can't predict future acceleration trends. If the acceleration does remain constant, Boon says that by 2050, the sea level in Boston could rise by as much as 0.7 meters.

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