29 march 2021

Sea level is rising at fastest rate in 2,000 years, and the quickest in N.J., Rutgers study says

By Jonathan D. Salant | NJ Advance Media for, Updated Mar 29, 2021; Posted Mar 27, 2021

Climate change is causing glaciers to melt faster, raising sea levels along the Atlantic coast at a rate not seen for 2,000 years, according to a new study led by a Rutgers University resercher.

The study found that sea levels were increasing the most in South Jersey. Two of the locations studied were Cape May Court House and Leeds Point. Others were in North Jersey, New York, Connecticut and North Carolina.

“There is rapid change happening with climate,” said Jennifer Walker, lead author of the study and a post-doctoral associate at Rutgers University. “The biggest thing from this study is sea level rise is accelerating.”

“Melting ice and warning oceans. That’s whats causing these much higher rates of sea level rise.”

The study said the greatest increase in sea level rise during the 2,000-year period beginning in year 1 CE occurred in the last 100 years, from 1900 to 2000.

What that means is storms like Hurricane Sandy have higher levels of water to push onto land and cause flooding, Walker said.

“When you have a big hurricane like Sandy, when you add up more sea level rise, and Sandy was on top of a high tide, it makes your storm even worse,” she said.

South Jersey is especially vulnerable because the land there is still sinking and adjusting from the ice age of 10,000 years ago, Walker said. The area had the highest rates of sea level rise during the entire time period studied, she said.

“The biggest thing is we know that sea level has been rising for a long period of time,” Wright said. “This study really shows the significant increase in rate in the last 100 or 200 years. The No. 1 priority as a globe should still be to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

President Joe Biden has made fighting climate change a top priority of his administration, and has said that his proposed infrastructure plan will include moves toward clean energy and away from oil and gas.

And Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, has introduced his own legislation to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions blamed for climate change. The goal is to have net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

“Every new scientific indicator we get is just more proof of what we already know:,” said Pallone, D-6th Dist. “New Jersey is on the frontlines of the climate crisis, and if we don’t take this threat seriously, it will be New Jerseyans’ homes and livelihoods that pay the price.”

”We must achieve net zero greenhouse gas pollution if we’re going to avoid the most catastrophic consequences of climate change,” he said.

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