An extreme event of sea-level rise along the Northeast coast of North America in 2009-2010

Paul B. Goddard, Jianjun Yin, Stephen M. Griffies, Shaoqing Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

101 Scopus citations

Abstract

The coastal sea levels along the Northeast Coast of North America show significant year-to-year fluctuations in a general upward trend. The analysis of long-term tide gauge records identified an extreme sea-level rise (SLR) event during 2009-10. Within this 2-year period, the coastal sea level north of New York City jumped by 128mm. This magnitude of interannual SLR is unprecedented (a 1-in-850 year event) during the entire history of the tide gauge records. Here we show that this extreme SLR event is a combined effect of two factors: an observed 30% downturn of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation during 2009-10, and a significant negative North Atlantic Oscillation index. The extreme nature of the 2009-10 SLR event suggests that such a significant downturn of the Atlantic overturning circulation is very unusual. During the twenty-first century, climate models project an increase in magnitude and frequency of extreme interannual SLR events along this densely populated coast.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6346
JournalNature communications
Volume6
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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