Scientific Data and more about Rising Sea Levels

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An online tool at allows users to see the impacts on various US cities.

Sea Level Rise

by The Ocean Portal Team; Reviewed by Dr. Joshua K. Willis, NASA-JPL; Dr. Andrew Kemp, Tufts University; and Dr. Benjamin H. Strauss, Climate Central

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“The ocean never stops moving. When you visit the beach, waves roll in and recede and the tides rise and fall. These are small daily changes that balance out over time.

But over the past century, the average height of the sea has risen more consistently—less than a centimeter every year, but those small additions add up. Today, sea level is 6 to 8 inches (15-20 centimeters) higher on average than it was in 1900. That’s a pretty big change: for the previous 2,000 years, sea level hadn’t changed much at all. The rate of sea level rise has also increased over time. Between 1900 and 1990 studies show that sea level rose between 1.2 millimeters and 1.7 millimeters per year on average. By 2000, that rate had increased to about 3.2 millimeters per year and the rate in 2016 is estimated at 3.4 millimeters per year. Sea level is expected to rise even more quickly by the end of the century.”

Conversion factors for ice and water mass and volume

Miami-Dade County Sea Level Rise Task Force

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The Sea Level Rise Task Force is charged with:

  1. Reviewing relevant data and prior studies and reports regarding the potential impact of sea level rise on public services and facilities, real estate, water and other ecological resources, and property and infrastructure; and
  2. Providing a comprehensive and realistic assessment of the likely and potential impacts of sea level rise and storm surge over time.

This assessment will then be used to help recommended amendments to the County’s Comprehensive Development Master Plan, to the capital facilities planning process, to budgetary prioritization and to other County programs as necessary.

The Task Force was formed through Miami-Dade County Resolution R-599-13, adopted on July 2, 2013. It was amended to add a seventh member through Resolution R-744-13, adopted on Sept. 17, 2013.

Click to access sea-level-rise-report-recommendations.pdf


A Region Responds to a Changing Climate

Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact Counties

Regional Climate Action Plan

Link to full report

Miami-Dade website on Climate Change, 5/5/2017

listed links


Climate change already accelerating sea level rise, study finds

August 10, 2016

Greenhouse gases are already having an accelerating effect on sea level rise, but the impact has so far been masked by the cataclysmic 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines, according to a new study led by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR).

Satellite observations, which began in 1993, indicate that the rate of has held fairly steady at about 3 millimeters per year. But the expected acceleration due to is likely hidden in the satellite record because of a happenstance of timing: The record began soon after the Pinatubo eruption, which temporarily cooled the planet, causing sea levels to drop.

The new study finds that the lower starting point effectively distorts the calculation of sea level rise acceleration for the last couple of decades.

The study lends support to climate model projections, which show the rate of sea level rise escalating over time as the climate warms. The findings were published today in the open-access Nature journal Scientific Reports.

“When we used climate model runs designed to remove the effect of the Pinatubo eruption, we saw the rate of sea level rise accelerating in our simulations,” said NCAR scientist John Fasullo, who led the study. “Now that the impacts of Pinatubo have faded, this acceleration should become evident in the satellite measurements in the coming decade, barring another major volcanic eruption.”

Study co-author Steve Nerem, from the University of Colorado Boulder, added: “This study shows that large volcanic eruptions can significantly impact the satellite record of global average . So we must be careful to consider these effects when we look for the effects of climate change in the satellite-based sea level record.”

The findings have implications for the extent of sea level rise this century and may be useful to coastal communities planning for the future. In recent years, decision makers have debated whether these communities should make plans based on the steady rate of sea level rise measured in recent decades or based on the accelerated rate expected in the future by climate scientists.

The study was funded by NASA, the U.S. Department of Energy, and the National Science Foundation, which is NCAR’s sponsor.

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