Atlantic Coast sea level rises at faster pace

6 thoughts on “Atlantic Coast sea level rises at faster pace”

  1. First of all the sentence: “I haven’t seen any measurements confirming this, but anecdotal observations suggest somethings is happening” is quite moronic and in no way scientific. Certainly a scientist of your education should know better. Also, I think someone is confused about isostatic rebound, when a weight is lifted, the substrate will rise not sink. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. The weight of the ice is pushing down, therefore the ground is pushing up; remove the ice and the ground rises. Not that isostatic rebound has anything to do with coastal subsidence, that sediment subsides as it compacts because it is newly deposited sediment.

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  2. Fish:

    First of all the sentence: “I haven’t seen any measurements confirming this, but anecdotal observations suggest somethings is happening” is quite moronic and in no way scientific. Certainly a scientist of your education should know better.

    John knows better. This isn’t moronic – it’s how science works. Someone comes up with an observation or prediction (in ecology this is often anecdotal), and then formulates a hypothesis to test this observation or prediction.

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  3. Dear Fish,

    1) I knew someone would make that point, which is why I added the “I may be confusing weather for climate here, but…” disclaimer, i.e., “I know, this may be a short term thing, unrelated to AGW”

    2) As Jez points out, this is precisely how science works. I know people are working on confirming whether this common observation [even by non-scientists; this is a very common conversation starter on the outer banks, “hey Joe, what the frak is up with the tides these days?!”] are in fact real, i.e., supported by quantitative pattern data, and if so trying to figure out why, i.e., testing alternative hypotheses including local erosion, changing wind patterns, actual sea level rise, and if so due to the NAO, something else, etc.

    3) I didn’t say there were no data confirming the pattern. I suspect there are. But that isn’t my field. I just said ” I haven’t seen any measurements confirming this”.

    4) Finally, most of our observations turn out to be unrepresentative, many of our ideas are wrong (moronic?), we disprove our own hypotheses every day, etc.

    BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY:
    “Also, I think someone is confused about isostatic rebound, when a weight is lifted, the substrate will rise not sink. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. The weight of the ice is pushing down, therefore the ground is pushing up; remove the ice and the ground rises. Not that isostatic rebound has anything to do with coastal subsidence, that sediment subsides as it compacts because it is newly deposited sediment.”

    Mea culpa; You are correct. I screwed up. I am familiar with isostatic rebound and do know that when the ice melted the continents rose due to the release of the weight which deforms the plates. But I thought they eventually sink back down into equilibrium. I also, therefore, misinterpreted the implications of the paper (to a degree). Ill make a correction to the post. Thanks for catching that. Frankly, this is a big reason I blog, i.e., to learn shit.

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  4. I was not trying to be rude, I don’t think you are moronic or anything, I just think that your first sentence was and I stand by that. There is a reason why eyewitness testimony is unreliable. We are by definintion subjective, that is where science and testing comes in to be objective, take out that human opinion. Now, to show my ignorance, what does the unit a^-1 mean, I assume per year. This is the reason I like to read blogs, to learn things (not just to police the web for geologic inaccuracies)

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  5. No worries Fish. I didnt take it as such. And I did feel like an idiot for screwing that up. My Geology friends are gonna smack me. So any scorn was deserved and your correction was appreciated.

    I was confused initially about that too. Frankly, the paper was so full of science jargon, I found it pretty difficult to interpret. 1.7 mm a−1 or unit per a-1 means change per year, “a” = annum, a form of the latin word annus which means year. Why geologists use unit per a-1 instead of unit per y -1? Just to be fancy and confuse us I guess.

    “I was not trying to be rude, I don’t think you are moronic or anything, I just think that your first sentence was and I stand by that. There is a reason why eyewitness testimony is unreliable.”

    You know, even though I disagreed from one perspective (and what I was trying to do was put the science paper into a non-science, every day context) I agree with you from another. And I like your point about removing the subjective humanness from science. I do a fair amount of meta-analyses where I combine quantitative survey data from lots (thousands) of reefs to look at broad scale patterns. You would be amazed at how frequently I get criticized by colleagues for never having been to many of the reefs that I use data from. But I think that is in a sense a benefit: I have never seen it, don’t have any subjective views, emotional attachments to it, etc. I just have the number, cold and objective. Like the blind watchmaker.

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  6. A better late than never comment: I believe that there is a misunderstanding of glacial rebound here. When one end of the North American plate is unweighted (deglaciation), not all of the plate is going to rise up. There will be areas that actually subside under those circumstances.

    One can use a large wooden raft out on a still lake as an analogy. Put a bunch of partying teenagers over on one side of the raft and you will get some sinking on one end of the raft and some lifting on the other end. When the kids all jump in the water, the opposite occurs. Structural geology makes this much more complex in the case of the North American plate, but the concept is the same.

    From WikiP:
    “Since the glacial isostatic adjustment process causes the land to move relative to the sea, ancient shorelines are found to lie above present day sea level in areas that were once glaciated. On the other hand, places in the peripheral bulge area which was uplifted during glaciation now begins to subside. Therefore ancient beaches are found below present day sea level in the bulge area.”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post-glacial_rebound
    There is a map currently there that shows North Carolina to be in this bulge area.

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