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Sea Level Rise Fastest in 2000 Years (Or Not!)

June 14, 2021

By Paul Homewood




The rate of sea-level rise in the 20th century along much of the U.S. Atlantic coast was the fastest in 2,000 years, and southern New Jersey had the fastest rates, according to a Rutgers-led study.

The global rise in sea level from melting ice and warming oceans from 1900 to 2000 led to a rate that’s more than twice the average for the years 0 to 1800 – the most significant change, according to the

study in the journal Nature Communications.

The study, for the first time, looked at the phenomena that contributed to sea-level change over 2,000 years at six sites along the coast (in Connecticut, New York City, New Jersey and North Carolina) using a sea-level budget. A budget enhances understanding of the processes driving sea-level change. The processes are global, regional (including geological, such as land subsidence) and local, such as groundwater withdrawal.

“Having a thorough understanding of sea-level change at sites over the long term is imperative for regional and local planning and responding to future sea-level rise,” said lead author

Jennifer S. Walker, a postdoctoral associate in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences in the School of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers University–New Brunswick. “By learning  how different processes vary over time and contribute to sea-level change, we can more accurately estimate future contributions at specific sites.”

Sea-level rise stemming from climate change threatens to permanently inundate low-lying islands, cities and lands. It also heightens their vulnerability to flooding and damage from coastal and other storms.

Most sea-level budget studies are global and limited to the 20th and 21st centuries. Rutgers-led researchers estimated sea-level budgets for longer time frames over 2,000 years. The goal was to better understand how the processes driving sea level have changed and could shape future change, and this sea-level budget method could be applied to other sites around the world.

Using a statistical model, scientists developed sea-level budgets for six sites, dividing sea-level records into global, regional and local components. They found that regional land subsidence – sinking of the land since the Laurentide ice sheet retreated thousands of years ago – dominates each site’s budget over the last 2,000 years. Other regional factors, such as ocean dynamics, and site-specific local processes, such as groundwater withdrawal that helps cause land to sink, contribute much less to each budget and vary over time and by location.



As the actual data shows, the rate of sea level rise in New Jersey has been pretty constant since 1910, which suggests that carbon dioxide emissions have little overall effect. What we are seeing is the result of natural global warming since the Little Ice Age ended:


 mean trend plot


The study claims that 20thC sea level rise is double that of the years 0 to 1800. But their modelling does not take account of changing century or decadal trends within the period. We know for a fact that glaciers advanced massively between the 17th and 19thC. There therefore had to have been a significant reduction in sea level rise at that time, maybe even a fall in sea levels as HH lamb believed.

Lamb also believed that glaciers were almost as great as the LIA in the previous cold epoch, around AD 450 to 850. There will therefore have been fluctuations in the long term trend, with sea levels rising faster at times, and slower at others.

What we do know is that many of the world’s glaciers are bigger now than they were in the Middle Ages and before.

As with all climate studies, the object is to prove climate change is “getting worse than ever”. Hence talk of accelerating sea level rise. The intention is to make people fearful of something which is too tiny to concern them.

NOAA kindly provide this chart, comparing actual sea level rise with official projections:



Say no more!!

  1. Harry Passfield permalink
    June 14, 2021 2:18 pm

    The global rise in sea level from melting ice and warming oceans from 1900…

    When one reads that opening summary one realises that they came to a conclusion before they knew what the cause (if any) was. I was wondering, how did they know that any sea-level rise was ‘melting ice and warming oceans’? Can they detect the difference in water makeup? And what was the proportion? Then, I read further: MODELS. Nuff said.

  2. June 14, 2021 2:19 pm

    The key is to limit the reference time span to 2000 years.

  3. Malcolm Bell permalink
    June 14, 2021 2:21 pm

    How will these people make amends when they have wrecked the western economies and it turns out they are wrong.

    I wish I might live long enough to find out.

    • James Neill permalink
      June 14, 2021 2:38 pm

      I strongly suspect that wrecking western economies is the general idea in a lot of cases. How much more fun to get them to do it to themselves!

  4. Dermot Grenham permalink
    June 14, 2021 2:32 pm

    Paul: Is the link for the second graph correct? It takes me to the same place as the first chart

    • June 14, 2021 5:04 pm

      Yes that’s right. It gives options for several graphs.

      This one is Regional Scenarios

  5. Christopher Hall permalink
    June 14, 2021 2:35 pm

    Whenyou look throughthe original paper, the graphics look suspiciously like a hockey stick!

  6. Andrew Mark Harding permalink
    June 14, 2021 2:42 pm

    “The rate of sea-level rise in the 20th century along much of the U.S. Atlantic coast was the fastest in 2,000 years, and southern New Jersey had the fastest rates, according to a Rutgers-led study.”

    This statement is nonsensical, the Earth’s oceans are contiguous, the water level is the same the world over. The exceptions are the Arctic and Antarctic Oceans where the ice occupies a 10% greater volume.

    • Duker permalink
      June 14, 2021 11:36 pm

      Thats another issue , but no the sea levels the world over are not the same. They found this when they built the ‘sea level’ Suez canal. Complex reasons , but the Atlantic is higher than Pacific. Reasons can gravitational, wind directions, water inflows etc. Even in large lakes like the Great lakes water levels can be different down wind or near a large river inlet or outlet.

      • Duker permalink
        June 14, 2021 11:47 pm

        I left out the part where the seal level at different ends of the Suez canal can be up to 30cm difference. Also to consider the earth isnt a perfect sphere, being an oblate spheroid, which raises the point what is ‘the reference point of earths surface’

      • Phoenix44 permalink
        June 15, 2021 8:28 am

        True but this is about a trend. Why would a trend vary noticeably along the Atlantic coast of New England?

  7. Mad Mike permalink
    June 14, 2021 3:45 pm

    Not another model. When I hear something along the lines of “Our climate model produced in 1990 has proved correct.” then I’ll listen with great interest in what they have to say today.

  8. June 14, 2021 3:48 pm

    For an entirely different point of view that describes how warming can occur in the Southern Hemisphere in winter, but not in summer, and how that warmth can be transferred to the Northern Hemisphere to produce better than a degree centigrade warming across the year, with more in the last than the first half, and how that beneficial process can reverse, shortening the growing seasons in the northern Hemisphere, please read and leave a comment at

  9. June 14, 2021 5:02 pm

    The notion that trace gases in the atmosphere could affect the great oceans in any noticeable way is, as David Bellamy might say, poppycock. The tip of the tail can’t wag the dog.

    • Duker permalink
      June 15, 2021 2:54 am

      Yes. Its become a theology now , maybe even from the beginning like early Christianity was with its ‘great councils’ of bishops and now they are down to the sale of indulgences, child saints and ‘end of worldism’

  10. June 14, 2021 5:18 pm

    So “The Arts and Humanities *Research* Council” is funding Climate “research” at Hull university
    but how often does research funding get used for Climate-Alarmist activism ?

    4:13pm local radio’s show was plugging new film to be shown to children
    during the Children’s Literature Festival sat 26th June
    The kids will be asked to write poetry after seeing the film

    Their project called Risky Cities : Rising Tide of Humber project
    that get school kids to understand how Climate Change will flood Hull
    (why no “The” with Humber ?)
    They have a video ..
    .. some skeptic tweeted the poster

    • June 14, 2021 5:27 pm

      I see the poster says “sponsored by XR Stories”
      seems that University of York operation stands for eXtended Realities
      a form of VR, not actually Stinky Rebellion

  11. Chaswarnertoo permalink
    June 14, 2021 5:57 pm

    Utter, utter BS. East Antarctica is gaining mass ( ice).

  12. June 14, 2021 7:45 pm

    “As the actual data shows, the rate of sea level rise in New Jersey has been pretty constant since 1910, which suggests that carbon dioxide emissions have little overall effect.”

    “little overall effect?”

    Looks like none to me. If it were, would not there be at least a gradual curve upwards – and accelerating – since at least the 1970’s?

    • Dave Andrews permalink
      June 15, 2021 5:28 pm

      Many parts of Eastern US have been sinking for thousands of years in response to the weight of ice they were under during the last Ice Age. Other parts of the East coast are also sinking because of groundwater depletion and other geographical processes. Judith Curry had a couple of articles recently about the New Jersey shoreline at her Climate Etc. blog

      • June 15, 2021 5:37 pm

        Yeah, I’m familiar with the issues here, and with Curry’s work here. Thanks.

  13. Graeme No.3 permalink
    June 14, 2021 11:09 pm

    Sea level rise is very difficult to predict. In Sweden and Finland it looks like the sea level is falling, due to isotactic rebound of the land as the weight of the ice sheets has receded. e.g. Turku castle is no longer an Island.
    The south east coast of England is supposedly slowly sinking as Scotland rises (again isotactic rebound after ice sheet loss) but Pevensey Castle – built by the Romans on a narrow peninsula and surrouded by water on 3 sides – is now surrounded by land. Sandwich was one of the original Cinque Ports but is now 2 miles inland.
    Ostia Antiqua is being excavated miles from the sea, yet was the principle port of Republican Rome.

  14. Duker permalink
    June 14, 2021 11:55 pm

    Ostia Antica is 3km from the sea now because of silting from the Tiber river and coastal drift. It was a constant issue even for the romans over centuries who developed various new port
    basin facilities around the Tiber mouths and Ostia became like ‘Sandbanks’ a wealthy area near the coast but not a port.

  15. Plowjogger1776 permalink
    June 15, 2021 1:03 am

    Can someone else chime in here? My perception of much of this is that one very scary scenario gets pushed, then there is blowback from other scientists, the discussion goes dormant, and a different scary emergency pops up, and this merry-go-round keeps going. It never seems to occur to the general public that the failed predictions of the climate catastrophists is nothing but the boy crying wolf over and over again.

  16. Tim C permalink
    June 15, 2021 3:15 am

    I think they fed that graph Viagra…

  17. Phoenix44 permalink
    June 15, 2021 8:25 am

    I do love claims that are completely unlikely to be true. Why would it be much faster in New Jersey? Just obviously junk.

  18. June 15, 2021 9:54 am

    From 2012. See graphic in link for map showing affected areas (mainly Cape Cod to Cape Hatteras).

    East Coast Sea Level Rise Accelerating In ‘Hotspot’ Area, Report Warns

    According to a USGS press release, sea level rise in the “hotspot” has increased 2 – 3.7 millimeters per year since about 1990, compared to the global increase of 0.6 – 1.0 millimeter per year. Assuming that temperatures will keep rising, the data suggests that rates of sea level rise in this region will keep increasing.

    The scientists suggest the acceleration of sea level rise along the hotspot is consistent with a slowdown of Atlantic Ocean circulation. This circulation change could be associated with changes in the subpolar north Atlantic.
    – – –
    ‘Is consistent with’ is speculative, of course.

  19. June 15, 2021 4:51 pm

    I see the sinister hand of Big Brother here.with a ring through the noses of the scientists.

  20. Athelstan permalink
    June 15, 2021 5:50 pm


    The collegiate of alarmunism and idiot peer revue – burlesque.

    I read their outlandish claims with a pinch of actually a ton of salt handy.

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