Sea levels along the Mid-Atlantic and much of the East Coast are rising much faster than other areas around the globe, scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey tell the Associated Press.
A 600-mile stretch of coastline between Cape Hatteras, N.C. and Massachusetts is a "hot spot" for climbing sea levels caused by global warming, the scientists say. Citing a recent study published in the Nature Climate Change journal, they claim the Atlantic Ocean between those points is rising at an annual rate three to four times faster than the global average.
The study's lead author, oceanographer Asbury Sallenger Jr., says he's monitored sea levels since 1950 and noticed a change beginning in 1990.
Since then, ocean levels have gone up globally about 2 inches, he says. But in Norfolk, Va., where officials are struggling to fight more frequent flooding, the sea level has jumped a total of 4.8 inches.
For some time, models have projected higher levels along parts of the East Coast because of changes in ocean currents from global warming, but this is the first study to show it's already happened.