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Big Rise In Sea Levels During Roman Times

February 24, 2016

By Paul Homewood 


h/t Ben Vorlich


The Roman Warm Period marked an era of widespread climatic changes, of which one was sea level rise.

HH Lamb records the effect this had on migration, in Climate History & The Modern World:








Note the displacement of population from the coasts of the Flanders and Netherlands, as sea levels rose. This would surely have required more than just a few mm of rise.

Lamb talks of a meter of rise up to 400 AD, over the “warmer centuries in Roman times”, but this certainly was not a steady, consistent increase, as he records the recession around 200 AD.

It is difficult to detect any evidence that sea level rise in the last century has been any greater than some of those Roman times.


It is also worth noting what Lamb says about the migration of barbarian tribes from Central Asia, which set off a chain reaction of migrations, partly responsible for the Anglo Saxon ones.






It is a reminder that the climate was far from stable in the past, as often portrayed. Remember, as well, that the period of drought referred to coincides with a cooler global climate.

  1. Don B permalink
    February 24, 2016 11:38 am

    Climate, History and the Modern World, second edition, paperback, page 115:

    “Of course, the details are less certain than the overall trend, but there is considerable agreement that the most rapid phases [of sea level rise] were between about 8000 and 5000 BC, also that the rise of general water level was effectively over by about 2000 BC, when it may have stood a metre or two higher than today.”

    The idea that the highest sea level was about 2,000 BC is consistent with what Lamb wrote about glaciers:

    “It was after 2000-1500 BC that most of the present glaciers in the Rocky Mountains south of 57 o N were formed and that major re-advance of those in the Alaskan Rockies first took place.

    “And at their subsequent advanced positions – probably around 500 BC as well as between 1650 and 1850 AD – the glaciers in the Alps regained an extent, estimated in the Glockner region, at about 5 times their Bronze Age Minimum, when all the smaller ones had disappeared.”

    • AndyG55 permalink
      February 24, 2016 8:06 pm

      “when it may have stood a metre or two higher than today.””

      The whole of the NSW coast has rock platforms indicating a sea level about 1-1.5m higher than current.

      • February 25, 2016 1:39 am

        The same is true along the coast of peninsular Malaysia, which has been described as a stable carton during the Holocene. Except, the estimates of time using microfossils is around 3000 BCE (BC). And sea level fall since then estimated as 2 meters (6.5 feet).

        On the island of Penang the streams cut down about 2 meters into the granite where they approach within a kilometer or so from the coast. this suggests that the dating might be too late, because granite erodes more slowly than sedimentary rock.

        Wave cut grooves on the mainland several kilometers inland are cut deeply into the bases of limestone cliffs, suggesting that the duration of high sea level was long.

        I therefore think that these two sets of observations possibly places high sea level stands further back to around the time of the Holocene Climate Optimum (hypsithermal).

  2. February 24, 2016 2:04 pm

    One interesting thing to note is the rapidity of change. It is now known that following the last glaciation, during the rapid warming, within about a 50-year span, climate suddenly flipped into the mini-ice age lasting about 1000 years.

    Lake Missoula, about the size of current Lake Superior, formed again and again in Montana with a glacial arm damming it. It would suddenly break through and drain within a matter of days. It led to the formation of eastern Washington state’s “Scablands” as a result of the enormous flashfloods. Geologists now find, from studying layers, that this likely happened at least 80 times.

  3. John F. Hultquist permalink
    February 24, 2016 3:16 pm

    More on the floods mentioned by botanyjrg, above.

    An Introduction to the Ice Age Floods

    Or watch a few of Nick’s Zenter’s 2 minute videos

  4. songhees permalink
    February 24, 2016 4:55 pm

    Latest book and documentary.
    ‘The Deliberate Corruption of Climate Science’.

  5. February 24, 2016 8:25 pm

    Thermal expansion and melting land ice don’t need any non-solar forcing.

  6. April 12, 2016 12:44 am

    Reblogged this on Climate Collections.

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