Skip Navigation

A Scientific Assessment of Coastal Hazards

February 7, 2019

Testimony showing anthropogenic climate change is not causing an unusual rate of rise in sea levels.

From the conclusion:

Coasts are naturally hazardous areas due to the impact of rising seas, coastal storms, shifting barrier islands, and flooding caused by rainfall into low-lying areas.  Global sea levels have risen naturally at a rate of about 7 to 8 inches per century for at least several hundred years.  Locally, this rate may be higher due to local land subsidence and/or compaction of sediments or lower due to isostatic rebound. 

[I]ncreasing CO2 concentrations are not significantly affecting the rate of sea level rise.  As these concentrations have increased from before the industrial age when atmospheric CO2 levels were about 280 ppm to current conditions where they exceed 400 ppm, the lack of a significant change in the rate of increase implies that sea level rise is not responding to changes in greenhouse gas concentrations. 

David Legates, Ph.D., is professor of climatology in the Department of Geography at the University of Delaware.