Climate Series, Seminar 7: Climate Tidings of the Tides

Climate Science Special Report (CSSR) Seminar Series
Thursday, August 23, 2018 - 12:00

Climate Science Special Report (CSSR) Seminar Series, by the U.S. Global Change Research Program, in partnership with NOAA.

Speaker: William Sweet, Oceanographer, Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services,
NOAA's National Ocean Service. Presenting in Silver Spring.

Sponsors: The U.S. Global Change Research Program and NOAA's National Ocean Service Science Seminar; co-hosts are Katie Reeves ( and

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Abstract: Human activities are a significant contributor to the rise in global sea levels, which have risen about 7-8 inches since 1900 with about 3 of those inches occurring since 1993. By 2100, global sea levels are very likely to rise by 1.0-4.3 feet above year 2000 levels depending upon future emissions of greenhouse gases, though emerging science regarding Antarctic ice sheet stability suggests that a rise above 8 feet is physically possible. The amount of relative rise will not be uniform along the U.S. coastlines due to changes in Earth's gravitational field and rotation from melting of land ice, changes in ocean circulation, and vertical land motion. As sea levels have risen, annual flood frequencies of disruptive/minor tidal flooding have been accelerating within Atlantic and Gulf Coast cities over the last couple of decades. With continued rise, it is likely that damaging/moderate coastal flooding will occur several times a year within dozens of U.S. coastal locations within the next several decades.

About the Speaker: William Sweet is a NOAA oceanographer researching changes in nuisance-to-extreme coastal flood risk due to sea level rise (SLR). He has assessed risks to U.S. coastal military installations worldwide for the military and is an author of the 4th U.S. National Climate Assessment.  He lives in Annapolis, MD to witness SLR effects first-hand.

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