Departmental Research Projects
Publication detailsBarlow, N.L.M., Long, A.J., Saher, M.H., Gehrels, W.R., Garnett, M.H. & Scaife, R.G. Salt-marsh reconstructions of relative sea-level change in the North Atlantic during the last 2000 years. Quaternary Science Reviews. 2014;99:1-16.
- Publication type: Journal Article
- ISSN/ISBN: 0277-3791
- DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2014.06.008
- Keywords: North Atlantic, Sea level, Transfer function, Diatoms, Foraminifera, Salt marsh, Climate.
- Further publication details on publisher web site
- Durham Research Online (DRO) - may include full text
Author(s) from Durham
Sea-level changes record changes in the mass balance of ice sheets and mountain glaciers, as well as dynamic ocean-atmosphere processes. Unravelling the contribution of each of these mechanisms on late Holocene timescales ideally requires observations from a number of sites on several coasts within one or more oceans. We present the first 2000 year-long continuous salt marsh-based reconstructions of relative sea-level (RSL) change from the eastern North Atlantic and uniquely from a slowly uplifting coastline. We develop three RSL histories from two sites in north west Scotland to test for regional changes in sea-level tendency (a positive tendency indicating an increase in the proximity of marine conditions and a negative tendency the reverse), whilst at the same time highlighting methodological issues, including the problems of dataset noise when applying transfer functions to fossil salt-marsh sequences. The records show that RSL has been stable (±0.4 m) during the last two millennia, and that the regional sea-level tendency has been negative throughout most of the record lengths. A recent switch in the biostratigraphy of all three records, indicating a regional positive tendency, means we cannot reject the hypothesis of a 20th century sea-level acceleration occurring in north west Scotland that must have exceeded the rate of background RSL fall (-0.4 mm yr-1), but this signal appears muted and later than recorded from the western North Atlantic.
The Scottish RSL data can be downloaded from: