Is sea level rise accelerating in the Chesapeake Bay? A demonstration of a novel new approach for analyzing sea level data

Authors

  • Tal Ezer,

    Corresponding author
    1. Center for Coastal Physical Oceanography, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia, USA
    • Corresponding author: T. Ezer, Center for Coastal Physical Oceanography, Old Dominion University, 4111 Monarch Way, Norfolk, VA 23508, USA. (tezer@odu.edu)

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  • William Bryce Corlett

    1. Center for Coastal Physical Oceanography, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia, USA
    2. MSc Engineering in the Coastal Environment, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK
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Abstract

[1] Sea level data from the Chesapeake Bay are used to test a novel new analysis method for studies of sea level rise (SLR). The method, based on Empirical Mode Decomposition and Hilbert-Huang Transformation, separates the sea level trend from other oscillating modes and reveals how the mean sea level changes over time. Bootstrap calculations test the robustness of the method and provide confidence levels. The analysis shows that rates of SLR have increased from ∼1–3 mm y−1 in the 1930s to ∼4–10 mm y−1 in 2011, an acceleration of ∼0.05–0.10 mm y−2 that is larger than most previous studies, but comparable to recent findings by Sallenger and collaborators. While land subsidence increases SLR rates in the bay relative to global SLR, the acceleration results support Sallenger et al.'s proposition that an additional contribution to SLR from climatic changes in ocean circulation is affecting the region.

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