The global mean sea level rise caused by ocean warming and glacier melting over landforms such as Greenland is one of the most alarming aspects of a shifting global climate. However, the dynamics of the ocean and atmosphere further influence sea level changes region by region and over time. For example, along the U.S. East Coast, a pronounced acceleration of sea level rise in 2010-2015 was observed south of Cape Hatteras, while a deceleration occurred up North. These patterns provide background conditions, on top of which shorter-period (and often stronger) weather-driven sea level fluctuations compound what coastal communities directly experience day by day. Therefore, to develop or improve regional sea level predictions, it’s important to identify these patterns and explore how they change over time.
New Study Shows Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation and Mediterranean Sea Level are Connected
NOAA contributed to a study published today in the journal Nature that compares the upward growth rates of coral reefs with predicted rates of sea-level rise and found many reefs would be submerged in water so deep it will hamper their growth and survival. The study was done by an international team of scientists led by the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom.
Tidal flooding from events such as the so-called “King Tides” and “Super Tides” are flooding urban coastal communities with increasing frequency as sea levels rise. These tidal flood waters can acquire a wide range of contaminants and toxins as a result of soaking in the built environment of urbanized coastlines. A multi- institutional, interdisciplinary research team, including scientists from AOML, is examining the types of contamination picked up from the urbanized coastal landscape and transported into coastal waters through tidal flooding.
The colloquial term ‘king tides’, referring to the highest astronomical tides of the year, is now part of most Miami Beach residents and city managers’ vocabulary. Exacerbated by rising seas, these seasonal tides can add up to 12 inches of water to the average high tide, threatening the urbanized landscape of Miami Beach. During these events, AOML’s Microbiology Team is on the scene to investigate these tidal waters as they rise and recede. The microbiologists are part of a research consortium for sea level rise and climate change, led by Florida International University’s Southeast Environmental Research Center. The research effort focuses on collecting samples and monitoring water quality at locations along the Biscayne Bay watershed where the City of Miami Beach has installed pumps to actively push these super-tidal floodwaters back into the bay.