Researchers at William & Mary’s Virginia Institute of Marine Science have issued the first annual update of their sea level “report cards,” marking 50 years of water-level observations from 1969 through 2018.
These web-based charts—available online at www.vims.edu/sealevelreportcard—project sea level out to the year 2050 based on an ongoing analysis of tide-gauge records for 32 localities along the U.S. coastline from Maine to Alaska.
|2050 projection of sea level in Norfolk, Virginia.|
The lead on the project, VIMS emeritus professor John Boon, says the report cards add value by providing sea-level projections that are updated more frequently than those issued by NOAA or other agencies.I consider the above illustration of sea level rise from Norfolk to be deceptive. By putting the curved "projections" line on the graph they have given the impression of accelerating sea level rise. Here's NOAA's complete set of sea level measurements from Sewells Point in Norfolk:
Boon and colleagues also use a statistical approach that includes evidence for recent acceleration in the rate of sea-level change at many U.S. tide-gauge stations, and stress their use of relative sea-level measurements—changes in water level relative to the land surface on which people live and work. The relative sea-level rise in Virginia and other East and Gulf coast areas is due to both rising water and sinking land.
This year’s report cards, updated using monthly summaries of daily tide gauge records from calendar year 2018, show that trends in sea-level change generally held steady across the 32 stations, although the processes that control sea level fluctuated slightly from region to region. Release of this year’s cards was delayed by the 35-day government shutdown, which precluded compilation of and access to NOAA’s latest tide-gauge records.
See any change in the rate of sea level rise from 1930 to the present? Neither does NOAA.