Guest post by David Middleton
“Sea level has already risen by about a foot, 1 foot, in much of the Southeast, which means Matthew’s storm surge was higher, and the flooding was more severe.”
When I read this quote in William Anderson’s recent post, I was reminded of Joe Bastardi’s appearance on the Sean Hannity Show on the eve of Hurricane Mathew’s landfall. When asked about the assertions that sea level rise has made hurricane storm surges more destructive, Mr. Bastardi said that it was insignificant. The influence of tides and waves were far more relevant than a minor rise in sea level.
To illustrate the irrelevance of sea level rise, I devised a little topographic exercise using NOAA tides & sea level trends and a USGS topographic map of the Jacksonville FL quadrangle. There are two NOAA sea level stations in this quadrangle: Fernandina Beach and Mayport. I chose Fernandina Beach because the record goes back to 1897, Mayport only goes back to 1930.
To evaluate the significance of 2 mm/yr of sea level rise since 1897, I constructed a topographic profile (A-A’) along Atlantic Avenue from Nassau General Hospital (A) to the shoreline (A’).
My next step was to plot the sea level data at the same vertical scale as the topographic profile.
What effect has all of this sea level rise had on a 10′ storm surge? Just above zero-point-zero.
My next exercise was to compare the typical tidal range to sea level rise.
Featured Image Borrowed From