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New Study Shows Dramatic Rise in Sea Levels Along Maine Coast

TUCSON, ARIZONA - A new study indicates that sea levels along the coast of Maine rose rapidly during a two-year period between 2009 and 2010.  

The University of Arizona-led study, done in conjunction with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, found that ocean levels between New York and Newfoundland jumped nearly 4 inches in that period.

The study was published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications.

To determine sea level rise, scientists used historical data from 40 tide guages set up along the eastern seaboard.  The rise in levels in the Northeast was the sharpest - 3.9 inches. A spike during the two-year period was also found from New York south to Cape Hatteras, though it was smaller. No spike was detected south of Cape Hattaras.

Some of the tidal records used in the study go back to the 1900's. Researchers say the recent spike was the only two-year increase of that magnitude to appear in the data.

Scientists attribute the rise to changes in ocean circulation, linked to climate change. At the current rate of increase in carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere, they say, more such spikes are likely to occur in the future.

Barbara grew up in Biddeford, Maine. She earned a master’s in public administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and a bachelor’s in English from the University of Southern Maine.