Researchers have found that the rise of sea levels in the 20th-century is three times higher than the rise during the last 500 years.
The jump occurs during what is known as the Industrial Revolution -- between 1879 and 1915 -- and may provide a direct link to human-induced climate change.
An international team of environmental scientists led by the University of Pennsylvania found that the rate of relative sea-level rise, or RSLR, in North Carolina during the 20th century was between 3.0 and 3.3 millimeters per year, higher than the typical observed rise of 1mm per year.
The result may be indicative of a latitudinal trend related to the melting of the Greenland ice sheet.
To measure sea levels over time, researchers didn't use records -- which were found to be "largely inadequate" in accuracy -- but instead took measurements from two North Carolina salt marshes that form continuous accumulations of thick organic sediment: Sand Point and Tump Point, in the microtidal Albemarle-Pamlico estuarine system. By using radiometric isotopes and stratigraphic age markers, scientists were able to accurately reconstruct sea levels back to the year 1500, they said.
Their findings coincide with other results from along the Atlantic coast, and actually surpass results found farther north.
The results appear in the current issue of the journal Geology.
This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com