Increase in Sea Level Not the Same Everywhere

What’s going on?

Global warming and the melting of the poles are causing sea levels to rise; however, this isn’t happening the same way everywhere. According to a new study, the sea level has risen more in some places than others and now we know why.


During the 20th century, the sea level on the east coast of the United States rose by 18 inches in the coastal communities of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina and Chesapeake Bay, Virginia, while on the coasts of New York and Miami it rose 11 inches, and in Portland, Maine it only increased six inches over the same period.


After the last glaciation, a phenomenon called “post-glacial rebound” shaped the surface of the land in the northern hemisphere. The earth that was under the layers of ice sank and the land around it rose; however, as the ice melted, about 26,500 years ago, the submerged land gradually “bounced” back and the surrounding land sank. This rebound effect, which continues, is the main cause of higher sea levels on some coasts.