The International Geological Correlation Program (IGCP) is launching a plan to identify and quantify the processes of sea-level change by producing detailed local histories that can be analysed and correlated for tectonic, climatic, tidal, and oceanographic fluctuations. The project, called IGCP-200, will be conducted through 1987. Its purpose is to provide a basis for predicting near-future changes for application to a variety of coastal problems, with particular reference to densely populated, low-lying coastal areas.
Sea-level variations are actually a complex of local, regional, and global processes. Sea-level data contain a wealth of information concerning internal and external effects and provide the only possibility for reconstructing paleogeoid surfaces and testing complex models. Project IGCP-200 intends to investigate these modulating factors and their interactions in an attempt to define the scales at which changes in sea-level occur, the associated effects on coastal and shelf deposit evolution, and to separate and quantify the causes of these changes (eustasy, isostasy, rheology, tectonics, climate, oceanic changes, astronomical effects, human influences, etc.).