In normal everyday life four inches often doesn’t seem to be that much. Most people cut 4 inches off of their hair without giving it a second thought. So, how would you react if you heard that the ocean along the Atlantic Coastline has rose 4 inches in the past year.
Some of you might not think too much about it because after all when you look at how vast the ocean is, four inches really doesn’t seem to be that big of a deal. Many people are under the impressions that the water levels in the ocean are going to rise and fall. And, it is true that sea levels rise and fall over the course of the years, but it is how quickly they rise that is a concern.
This week a study was published that showed just how quickly the sea levels rose along the east coast. During 2009 to 2010, the eastern coast saw a four-inch rise in sea levels. Yes, you read that right the sea rose four inches in just two years, which is almost unheard of. According to geosciences doctoral candidate Paul Goddard the rise in sea levels along the east coast is an “extreme sea level rise.” Goddard also happens to be the lead author on the paper dealing with the sea level rise that was recently published in the ‘Nature Communications’ journal. To give people an idea of how rare this event really is a statistical analysis was performed. What this analysis showed was that it was a 1 in every 850 year event. And, according t Goddard “unprecedented during the past century.
”When looking at the rise in sea levels along the east coast measurements were taken from gauges along the entire coast. What the measurements show is that from as far north as Newfoundland and all the way down to New York the ocean rose four inches. Once the measurements reached Cape May, it only showed a three-inch rise in levels, which is still pretty high. In following the coast line scientists discovered a rise in levels as far south as Cape Hatteras, N.C.
Now what makes this event so noteworthy is not just the four-inch rise, but also the fact that it happened in 2 years. Sea levels raise a small amount each year and normally to reach a four-inch rise you are looking at a time period of about 30 years. The good news though is that what is causing the sea levels to rise so rapidly is not permanent. So, while the sea levels did go up, they will eventually start to go back down.
So, while four inches may not seem that much to you and your friends when you are talking about the everyday aspect of life. When it comes to ocean levels rising four inches is quite a big deal. And, when it happens in two years, it causes everybody to stop and take notice.