Sea levels in northeastern North America rose five inches in two years through 2009 and 2010, resulting in coastal flooding and beach erosion along a band from New York City to Atlantic Canada.
The rate of sea level rise was “unprecedented in the history of tide gauge records,” Mashable reports, citing a study published this week in the journal Nature Communications.
“Researchers linked the sea level spike to an unexpectedly rapid slowdown in the Gulf Stream current, which helps transport heat from the tropics toward the colder, saltier waters of the North Atlantic,” writes Science Editor Andrew Freedman.
“The study is the first to provide observational evidence linking a slowdown in what is known as the Atlantic meridional overturning current, or AMOC, of which the Gulf Stream is a part, to accelerated sea level rise,” he adds. The five-inch change “would constitute nearly 40% of the sea level rise in New York City since 1900.”