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Kemp A.;Wright A.;Edwards R.;Barnett R.;Brain M.;Kopp R.;Cahill N.;Horton B.;Charman D.;Hawkes A.;Hill T.;van de Plassche O.
Relative sea-level change in Newfoundland, Canada during the past ∼3000 years
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© 2018 Elsevier Ltd 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.
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