Departmental Research Projects
Publication detailsKemp, A.C., Wright, A.J., Edwards, R.J., Barnett, R.L., Brain, M.J., Kopp, R.E., Cahill, N., Horton, B.P., Charman, D.J., Hawkes, A.D., Hill, T.D. & van de Plassche, O. Relative sea-level change in Newfoundland, Canada during the past ∼3000 years. Quaternary Science Reviews. 2018;201:89-110.
- Publication type: Journal Article
- ISSN/ISBN: 0277-3791
- DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2018.10.012
- Further publication details on publisher web site
- Durham Research Online (DRO) - may include full text
Author(s) from Durham
Several processes contributing to coastal relative sea-level (RSL) change in the North Atlantic Ocean are observed and/or predicted to have distinctive spatial expressions that vary by latitude. To expand the latitudinal range of RSL records spanning the past ∼3000 years and the likelihood of recognizing the characteristic fingerprints of these processes, we reconstructed RSL at two sites (Big River and Placentia) in Newfoundland from salt-marsh sediment. Bayesian transfer functions established the height of former sea level from preserved assemblages of foraminifera and testate amoebae. Age-depth models constrained by radiocarbon dates and chronohorizons estimated the timing of sediment deposition. During the past ∼3000 years, RSL rose by ∼3.0 m at Big River and by ∼1.5 m at Placentia. A locally calibrated geotechnical model showed that post-depositional lowering through sediment compaction was minimal. To isolate and quantify contributions to RSL from global, regional linear, regional non-linear, and local-scale processes, we decomposed the new reconstructions (and those in an expanded, global database) using a spatio-temporal statistical model. The global component confirms that 20th century sea-level rise occurred at the fastest, century-scale rate in over 3000 years (P > 0.999). Distinguishing the contributions from local and regional non-linear processes is made challenging by a sparse network of reconstructions. However, only a small contribution from local-scale processes is necessary to reconcile RSL reconstructions and modeled RSL trends. We identified three latitudinally-organized groups of sites that share coherent regional non-linear trends and indicate that dynamic redistribution of ocean mass by currents and/or winds was likely an important driver of sea-level change in the North Atlantic Ocean during the past ∼3000 years.