Multi-century subsidence data trims the wild edges off those dramatic, extreme sea level predictions we have all been fretting over

Published: 14 June 2024| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/g4ty6sb8tg.1
alberto boretti


This dataset highlights the significant roles of anthropogenic subsidence and thermosteric effects in shaping relative sea levels in New York City. As the Earth's climate warms, ocean waters absorb heat, causing seawater to expand and sea levels to rise. Additionally, melting glaciers and ice sheets contribute extra water, further increasing sea levels. Subsidence, or land sinking, results from human activities (like groundwater and oil extraction, and urban development) and natural processes (such as tectonic movements). In coastal areas like New York City, subsidence greatly affects relative sea levels. Thus, it is crucial to consider both anthropogenic subsidence and thermosteric effects when discussing sea level changes in New York City. According to the Peltier Glacial Isostatic Adjustment (GIA)1 Model VM42, the subsidence rate in 1856, when The Battery's tide gauge started recording, was -0.870 mm/yr. Current measurements at The Battery based on the Global Positioning System (GPS)3 indicate a subsidence rate of -2.690 mm/yr since 20114. The average subsidence throughout observation is –1.780 mm/yr. The subsidence acceleration can be approximated as -0.0122 mm/yr². The proposed data set includes a curve constructed by using this information. By zeroing the absolute position of the tide gauge in 1856, the absolute position of the tide gauge is approximated as yTG,A=-5.6522E-03x2+2.0111E+01x-1.7855E+04 with x in years and yTG,A in mm. Since 1856, the relative mean sea level at The Battery, Manhattan5,6, has risen at a rate of 2.925 mm/yr subjected to an acceleration of 0.0112 mm/yr². The proposed data set also includes this information. By zeroing the start of the recording in 1856, the relative position of the sea level is approximated as ySL,R=5.6947E-03x2-1.9173E+01x+1.5968E+04 with ySL,R in mm. Consequently, the absolute position of the sea level also included in the data set, is given by the sum of the two, ySL,A=yTG,A+ ySL,R=4.2485E-05x2+9.3766E-01x-1.8876E+03. Based on the above figures, the thermosteric effect accounts for 2.925–1.780=1.145 mm/yr of sea level rise, and 0.01120-0.0122=-0.0010 mm/yr² of sea level acceleration (which is negative) since 1856. References 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.


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Geology, Oceanography, Geophysics, Climate Prediction, Urban Development