Research highlight

New York sea level to rise owing to slowing ocean circulation

Nature Geoscience

March 16, 2009

Regional sea level along the northeastern coast of the United States, particularly near New York, is expected to rise almost twice as fast as global sea levels during the twenty-first century, according to a study online in Nature Geoscience. The rising waters in this particular region are attributed to a slowing of the North Atlantic Ocean circulation, as estimated by a range of state-of-the-art climate models.

Jianjun Yin and colleagues analysed climate projections from a set of global climate models under a variety of greenhouse-gas emission scenarios. They find that sea levels in the North Atlantic Ocean adjust to the projected slowing of the meridional overturning circulation. Their model projection attributes 15?23 cm of the rise in New York sea level by the year 2100 to changes in the North Atlantic Ocean circulation, compared with 36?51 cm of total sea-level rise in this location.

This work suggests that the northeast coast of the US is among the regions most vulnerable to future changes in sea level through variations in ocean circulation.

doi: 10.1038/ngeo462

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