2m Higher Holocene Sea Levels

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70+ Papers: Sea Levels 2+ m Higher 9,000-4,000

Years Ago While CO2 Levels Were ‘Safe’ (265 ppm)

Image Source: Scheffers et al., 2012

Cronin et al., 2017   Global Sea Level Rise Rate: +4 meters per century (14,500 to 14,000 years ago)

Rates and patterns of global sea level rise (SLR) following the last glacial maximum (LGM) are known from radiometric ages on coral reefs from Barbados, Tahiti, New Guinea, and the Indian Ocean, as well as sediment records from the Sunda Shelf and elsewhere. … Lambeck et al. (2014) estimate mean global rates during the main deglaciation phase of 16.5 to 8.2 kiloannum (ka) [16,500 to 8,200 years ago] at 12 mm yr−1 [+1.2 meters per century] with more rapid SLR [sea level rise] rates ( 40 mm yr−1) [+4 meters per century] during meltwater pulse 1A  14.5–14.0 ka [14,500 to 14,000 years ago].”

Abdul et al., 2017   Global Sea Level Rise Rate: +4 meters per century (11,450 to 11,100 years ago)

“We find that sea level tracked the climate oscillations remarkably well. Sea-level rise was fast in the early Allerød (25 mm yr-1), but decreased smoothly into the Younger Dryas (7 mm yr-1) when the rate plateaued to <4 mm yr-1here termed a sea-level ‘slow stand’. No evidence was found indicating a jump in sea level at the beginning of the Younger Dryas as proposed by some researchers. Following the “slow-stand”, the rate of sea-level rise accelerated rapidly, producing the 14 ± 2 m sea-level jump known as MWP-1B; occurred between 11.45 and 11.1 kyr BP with peak sea-level rise reaching 40 mm yr-1 [+4 meters per century].”

Ivanovic et al., 2017 Northern Hemisphere Sea Level Rise Rate: +3.5 to 6.5 meters per century (~14,500 years ago)

“During the Last Glacial Maximum 26–19 thousand years ago (ka), a vast ice sheet stretched over North America [Clark et al., 2009]. In subsequent millennia, as climate warmed and this ice sheet decayed, large volumes of meltwater flooded to the oceans [Tarasov and Peltier, 2006; Wickert, 2016]. This period, known as the “last deglaciation,” included episodes of abrupt climate change, such as the Bølling warming [~14.7–14.5 ka], when Northern Hemisphere temperatures increased by 4–5°C in just a few decades [Lea et al., 2003; Buizert et al., 2014], coinciding with a 12–22 m sea level rise in less than 340 years [3.5 to 6.5 meters per century] (Meltwater Pulse 1a (MWP1a)) [Deschamps et al., 2012].”

Northern Hemisphere

~9,000 – 4,000 Years Ago, Sea Levels Were…

Song et al., 2018  South Korea, +1 to +2 m higher than present (rate: +1.4 meters per century)

“A sea-level curve for the west coast of South Korea was reconstructed. Sea level rose rapidly at a rate of ~1.4 cm yr–1 from 9.8–8.4 cal kyr B.P. [1.4 meters per century] and rose gradually until the mid-Holocene, after which it fell gradually to the present. There is a sea-level highstand of 1–2 m [above present] from 7–4 cal kyr B.P., likely due to hydro-isostatic effects. The rapid sea-level rise during the early Holocene is clearly a manifestation of polar ice sheet decay. The results were supported by the GIA model. The Holocene RSL change on the west coast of South Korea was closely linked to global temperature and ice sheet decay, especially during the early Holocene.”

He et al., 2018 Northeast China, +2 m higher than present

Cooper et al., 2017  Northern Ireland, +2 to +3 m higher than present

“Whitepark Bay is located on the paraglacial north coast of Northern Ireland. … After deglaciation sea-level fell to a low of -30 m by ca. 13.5 ka cal yr BP (Cooper et al., 2002; Kelley et al., 2006) before rising to a mid-Holocene highstand of 2-3 m above present around 6 cal kay r BP (Carter, 1982; Orford et al., 2006).”

Song et al., 2017  South Korea, +2 m higher than present

Yoon et al., 2017  South Korea, +6 m higher than present

“Songaksan is the youngest eruptive centre on Jeju Island, Korea, and was produced by a phreatomagmatic eruption in a coastal setting c. 3.7 ka BP [3,700 years before present]. The 1 m thick basal portion of the tuff ring shows an unusually well-preserved transition of facies from intertidal to supratidal, from which palaeo-high-tide level and a total of 13 high-tide events were inferred. Another set of erosion surfaces and reworked deposits in the middle of the tuff ring, as high as 6 m above present mean sea level, is interpreted to be the product of wave reworking during a storm-surge event that lasted approximately three tidal cycles. … The reworked deposits alternate three or four times with the primary tuff beds of Units B and C and occur as high as 6 m above present mean sea level or 4 m above high-tide level (based on land-based Lidar terrain mapping of the outcrop surface).”

Miklavič et al., 2017  Northern Philippine Sea, +3 m higher than present

“Holocene relative sea level history from phreatic overgrowths on speleothems (POS) on Minami Daito Island, Northern Philippine Sea… The results show that SL [sea level] reached its Holocene maximum between ca. 5.1 and 4.6 ka cal BP [4,600 to 5,100 years ago], after which it remained more or less stable till the present day, with a possible minor sea-level drawdown of ca. 30–35 cm…. The mid Holocene highstand is commonly assumed to have been ca. 3 m above the modern SL [sea level], although the observed heights range between +0.5 m and +4 m.”

Marwick et al., 2017 (full paper)  Thailand, +4 to +5 m higher than present

“Sinsakul (1992) has summarised 56 radiocarbon dates of shell and peat from beach and tidal locations to estimate a Holocene sea level curve for peninsula Thailand that starts with a steady rise in sea level until about 6 k BP, reaching a height of +4 m amsl (above [present]mean sea level). Sea levels then regressed until 4.7 k BP, then rising again to 2.5 m amsl at about 4 k BP. From 3.7 k to 2.7 k BP there was a regressive phase, with transgression starting again at 2.7 k BP to a maximum of 2 m amsl at 2.5 k BP. Regression continued from that time until the present sea levels were reached at 1.5 k BP. … Tjia (1996) collected over 130 radiocarbon ages from geological deposits of shell in abrasion platforms, sea-level notches and oyster beds and identified a +5 m [above present] highstand at ca. 5 k BP in the Thai-Malay Peninsula. …  Sathiamurthy and Voris (2006) summarise the evidence described above as indicating that between 6 and 4.2 k BP, the sea level rose from 0 m to +5 m [above present] along the Sunda Shelf [+2.8 mm/yr], marking the regional mid-Holocene highstand. Following this highstand, the sea level fell gradually and reached the modern level at about 1 k BP.”

Meltzner et al., 2017   Southeast Asia, +1.9 m higher than present (rate: +1.3 m per century)

Half-metre sea-level fluctuations on centennial timescales from mid-Holocene corals of Southeast Asia … RSL [relative sea level]  history between 6850 and 6500 cal years BP that includes two 0.6 m fluctuations, with rates of RSL change reaching 13±4 mm per year. … Here RSL rose to an initial peak of +1.9 m [above present] at 6,720 cal years BP, then fell rapidly to a lowstand of +1.3 m, remaining at about that level for ∼100 years, before rising to a second peak at +1.7 m shortly after 6,550 cal years BP. Around 6,480 cal years BP, RSL appears to have fallen again to +1.3 m before rising to a third peak at +1.6 m or higher. … RSL then stabilized at a lower elevation, forming a series of low concentric annuli 0.6 m higher than present-day analogues; RSL [relative sea level] then rose 0.6 m in less than a century, allowing the coral to grow upward to 1.2 m higher than modern living corals.”

Jiang et al., 2017  Southern China, +2.4 to +4.26 m higher than present

[T]hree coastal sediments with 4 m, 3.7 m, and 2 m higher than present sea-level were deposited at 2.40 ± 0.05 ka, 2.92 ± 0.17 ka, and 4.26 ± 0.10 ka, respectively [2,400, 2,920, and 4,260 years before present], which indicate that the height of highstand relative sea-level are higher than both mean global sea-level eustacy and those records offshore southern China. … In conclusion, a beach ridge and two marine terraces sediments have been dated at eastern Hainan Island. They were well bleached and can be taken as good indicators of paleo-RSL [relative sea level] highstand records of late Holocene. Three highstand RSL [relative sea level] events occurred at 0.02-0.05 ka [200-500 years ago], 2.40-2.92 ka [2,400 to 2,920 years ago] and ~4.26 ka [4,260 years ago] with the sea-level heights of 0.5-1.5 m, 4 m, 3.7-4.0 m and 2 m [above present levels],respectively. The height of highstand RSLs are higher than both mean global sea-level euastacy and those of offshore southern China.”

Khan et al., 2017  Caribbean, ~+1 m above present (rate: 1.09 meters per century)

“Only Suriname and Guyana [Caribbean] exhibited higher RSL[relative sea level] than present (82% probability), reaching a maximum height of 1 m [above present] at 5.2 ka [5,200 years ago]. … Because of meltwater input, the rates of RSL [relative sea level] change were highest during the early Holocene, with a maximum of 10.9 ± 0.6 m/ka [1.09 meters per century] in Suriname and Guyana and minimum of 7.4 ± 0.7 m/ka [0.74 meters per century] in south Florida from 12 to 8 ka [12,000 to 8,000 years ago].”

Sander et al., 2016  Denmark, +2.2 m higher than present

The data show a period of RSL [relative sea level] highstand at c. 2.2 m above present MSL [mean sea level] between c. 5.0 and 4.0 ka BP [5,000 to 4,000 years before present]. “

Bradley et al., 2016  China, +2 to +4 m higher than present

“In general, the data indicate a marked slowdown between 7 and 8 kyr BP, with sea level rising steadily to form a highstand of ~2-4 m [above present sea level] between 6 and 4 kyr BP [6000 and 4000 years before present]. This is followed by a steady fall, reaching present day levels by ~1 kyr BP.”


Long et al., 2016  Scotland, < +1 m higher than present

“RSL [relative sea level] data from Loch Eriboll and the Wick River Valley show that RSL [relative sea level] was <1 m above present for several thousand years during the mid and late Holocene before it fell to present.”

Chiba et al., 2016  Japan, +1.9 m higher than present

“Highlights: We reconstruct Holocene paleoenvironmental changes and sea levels by diatom analysis.  Average rates of sea-level rise and fall are estimated during the Holocene.  Relative sea level during Holocene highstand reached 1.9 m [higher than today] during 6400–6500 cal yr BP [calendar years before present].  The timing of this sea-level rise is at least 1000 years earlier in the Lake Inba area by Holocene uplift than previous studies.  The decline of sea-level after 4000 cal yr BP may correspond to the end of melting of the Antarctic ice sheet.”

Hansen et al., 2016  Denmark, +1.7 m higher than present

“Continuous record of Holocene sea-level changes … (4900 years BP to present). … The curve reveals eight centennial sea-level oscillations of 0.5-1.1 m superimposed on the general trend of the RSL [relative sea level] curve [relative sea levels ~1.7 m higher than present from 1400 to 1000 years ago].”


Dura et al., 2016  Vancouver, < +1 to +3 m higher than present

“In northern and western Sumatra, GIA models predict high rates (>5 mm/year) of RSL [relative sea level] rise from 12 to 7 ka [12000 to 7000 years ago], followed by slowing rates of rise (<1 mm/year) to an RSL [relative sea level] highstand of <1 m (northern Sumatra) and 3 m (western Sumatra) between 6 and 3 ka [6,000-3,000 years ago], and then gradual (<1 mm/ year) RSL fall until present.”


Yokoyama et al., 2016   Japan, +2.7 m higher than present

“The Holocene-high-stand (HHS) inferred from oyster fossils (Saccostrea echinata and Saccostrea malaboensis) is 2.7 m [above present sea level] at ca. 3500 years ago, after which sea level gradually fell to present level.”

Lokier et al., 2015  Persian Gulf, > +1 m above present

“Mid-Holocene transgression of the Gulf surpassed today’s sea level by 7100–6890 cal yr BP [~7000 years ago], attaining a highstand of > 1 m above current sea level shortly after 5290–4570 cal yr BP before falling back to current levels by 1440–1170 cal yr BP.  These new ages refine previously reported timings for the mid- to late Holocene sea-level highstand published for other regions.”

Barnett et al., 2015  Arctic Norway, +2.2  m higher than present

Relative sea-level fell at −0.7 to −0.9 mm yr−1 over the past 3300 years in NW Norway. … Prior to 3000 cal yr BP the marine limiting date represents an important constraint for the late Holocene sea-level trend and yields a minimum RSL [relative sea level] decline of approximately 2.2 m over 3200 years when assuming a linear trend. The maximum possible linear decline constrained by the data is approximately 2.6 m in 2800 years, providing an estimated late Holocene sea-level trend of ~0.7 to ~0.9 mm yr -1 (shown by the grey shaded region in Fig. 8A).”  [Relative sea level was 2.2 m higher ~3,000 years ago in Arctic Norway]

Reinink-Smith, 2015  Kuwait, +3.5 m higher than present

“[A]ssuming the tidal ranges were similar in the middle Holocene, a rough estimate of the MSL [mean sea level] during the middle Holocene highstand is 5.2 m − 1.7 m = +3.5 m above the present MSL [mean sea level]. … The +3.5 m highstand estimate in northeastern Kuwait derived in this study is also higher than the previously reported maximum estimates of +2 to +2.5 m responsible for other Holocene beach ridges in the Arabian Gulf (Gunatilaka, 1986; Lambeck, 1996; Kennett and Kennett, 2007; Jameson and Strohmenger, 2012). Some beach ridges in Qatar and Abu Dhabi are at elevations of 2–4 m above MSL [present mean sea level] as far as 5-15 km inland (Alsharhan and Kendall, 2003).”

Stategger et al., 2013  South Vietnam, +1.4 m higher than present

“The rates of sea-level rise decreased sharply after the rapid early Holocene rise and stabilized at a rate of 4.5 mm/year between 8.0 and 6.9 ka. Southeast Vietnam beachrocks reveal that the mid-Holocene sea-level highstand slightly above +1.4 m was reached between 6.7 and 5.0 ka, with a peak value close to +1.5 m around 6.0 ka.”

Yokoyama et al., 2012  Northern Japan, +2 m higher than present

“A Mid to Late Holocene sea-level record based on combined geomorphological, geological and micropaleontological observations was obtained from well-developed wave cut benches subaerially exposed along the Shimokita Peninsula, northern Japan. Results indicate that the benches were formed during mid to late Holocene sea-level transgressions, reaching a maximum highstand level of 2 m above present at about 4,000 years ago.”

Rashid et al., 2012  Bangladesh, +4.5 to +5 m higher than present

“The abundant marine diatoms and mangrove pollens indicate the highest RSL [relative sea level] transgression in Bangladesh at approximately 6000 cal BP, being at least 4.5 to 5 m higher than the modern m.s.l. [mean sea level].  … The curve indicates that at approximately 5000 cal BP and onwards, the RSL started to fall towards its present position, and the present shoreline of Bangladesh was established at approximately 1500 cal BP and has not noticeably migrated inland since.”

Scheffers et al., 2012  Thailand, +1.5 to +3 m higher than present

“Nevertheless, those from the Laem Son coral profile, as well as those from oysters in the Phang-nga Bay show the same trend and maximum altitude lower than +3 m compared with modern RSL (Figure 6a); the maximum of +2.5–3.0 m was timed to c. 5700 cal. BP. … [W]e tentatively deduce a highstand around 5300 BP in the order of +1.5–2.5 m above [present] RSL [relative sea level].”

Carson, 2011 Guam, Western Pacific, +1.5 to +2 m higher than present

“The case study in Guam may be viewed as representative of a broader region of the Remote Oceanic islands in the western Pacific, where first human settlement occurred around 1500-1000 B.C. (Bellwood, 1997; Kirch, 2000, 2010; Spriggs, 2007), generally at sites that today are broad sandy beaches but once had been small offshore islets, sand berms or spits, narrow beach fringes, and strand-like swampy settings around the end of a mid-Holocene highstand of sea level about 1.5-2 m above the present level (Carson, 2008a, 2008b; Dickinson and Burley, 2007; Gosden and Webb, 1994; Kirch, 1997; Nunn, 2005, 2007; Wickler, 2001).”

Dura et al., 2011 West Sumatra, Indonesia, +2 to +6 m higher than present

“A prominent feature of southeast Asia Holocene sea level records is the mid-Holocene highstand [Geyh et al., 1979; Tjia, 1996; Scoffin and Le Tissier, 1998; Hanebuth et al., 2000], which in Western Sumatra, varies in timing and magnitude from 3000 to 5000 cal years B.P., and +6 to +2 m above present-day sea levels [Horton et al., 2005].”

Bird et al., 2010  Singapore, +2.5 m higher than present (rate: +1.8 m per century)

“The sea-level curve, corroborated by the independent proxy records, suggests rapid rise at a rate of 1.8 m/100 yr until 8100 cal (calibrated) yr B.P., a near cessation in the rate of sea level rise between 7800 and 7400 cal yr B.P., followed by a renewed rise of 4–5 m that was complete by 6500 cal yr B.P [0.5 m/100 yr]. …  A mid-Holocene highstand of ~+2.5 m [above present] was reached after 6500 cal yr B.P., followed by a lowering, with mangroves prograding over the core site by ca. 1000 cal yr B.P.”

Switzer et al., 2009   SE Australia, +1 to +1.5 m higher than present

“This beach sequence provides new evidence for a period of higher sea level 1–1.5 m higher than present that lasted until at least c. 2000–2500 cal BP and adds complementary geomorphic evidence for the mid to late Holocene sea-level highstand previously identified along other parts of the southeast Australian coast using other methods.”

Yu et al., 2007  Scandinavia, +3 to +7.2 m higher than present

“Superimposed upon a smooth pattern of local sea-level rise, acceleration occurred ca. 7600 calibrated (cal) yr B.P., evidenced as a nearly synchronous flooding in six elevated basins ranging from 3.0 to 7.2 m above present sea level. We ascribe this rapid local sea-level rise of ∼4.5 m to a sudden increase in ocean mass, most likely caused by the final decay of the Labrador sector of the Laurentide Ice Sheet. The subsequent monotonic fall of local sea level from ca. 6500 cal yr B.P. to the present is mainly an expression of the slow isostatic adjustment of the mantle.”

Southern Hemisphere

~9,000 – 4,000 Years Ago, Sea Levels Were…

Wündsch et al., 2018  South Africa, +3 m higher than present

“Holocene sea level reconstructions suggest a reduction of the speed of the sea level rise during this time [~7900–6400 cal BP]. The sea level likely reached and exceeded the height of the PSL [present sea level] by as much as 3 m .”

Miguel et al., 2018  Southeastern Africa, ~ +2 to +3 m higher than present

Cooper et al., 2018  Brazil, ~2 m higher than present 

“With sea level stabilization a few metres above the present around 5.5 ka cal yr BP (Hein et al., 2016), the longshore drift system was reestablished and sediment accumulation in the littoral zone recommenced.”

Hallman et al., 2018  French Polynesia, +0.8 to +1 m higher than present

Yamono et al., 2017   Kiribati (Central Pacific), +2.4 m higher than present

“New coral microatoll data allow presenting an updated late Holocene sea-level curve for the Gilbert Islands of Kiribati. Examination of build-up elevation and spatial distribution of microatolls, along with radiocarbon age data from coral samples, suggest an approximately 1 m sea-level high stand [above present], possibly lasting from ~3500 to 1900 cal yr BP. … By radiocarbon dating fossil corals and Tridacna shells at several locations, Schofield (1977) showed that in the late Holocene, sea level in this region was approximately 2.4 m higher than at present, and also suggested that sea-level oscillations have occurred, with six transgressions during the last 5000 yr.”

Whitfield et al., 2017  Southern Africa, +1.5 to +3.5 m higher than present

“The estuarine lagoon would have been deeper than the present-day Groenvlei [Southern Africa], especially during the mid-Holocene sea level highstand about 4,500 BP when the sea level was 3.5 m higher than present (Ramsay, 1995), and the lagoon would have been fully tidal in synchrony with the main Swartvlei Estuary to the west. …  A subsequent rise in sea level to +1.5 m [above present] about 1,600 years BP (Ramsay, 1995) would have been insufficient to breach the stabilized dune field that was isolating Groenvlei from the Swartvlei Estuary.”

Fontes et al., 2017     Brazil, +2.7 m higher than present

During the early-middle Holocene there was a rise in RSL [relative sea level] with a highstand at about 5350 cal yr BP [calendar years before present]  of 2.7 ± 1.35 m [higher than present], which caused a marine incursion along the fluvial valley.”

Bini et al., 2017  Patagonia (Argentina), +2 to +5 m higher than present

The main conclusion is that the relative sea-level between c. 7000 and 5300 cal. yr BP was in the range of c. 2–4 m a.s.l. [above present mean sea level], with a mean value of c. 3.5 m a.s.l. … Initial glacio-hydro-isostatic models of the Patagonian coast [Argentina] suggested that the shoreline could be characterized by currently raised beaches, which started to form as soon as ice-sheet melting ceased (Clark et al., 1978). A more recent model (Milne and Mitrovica, 2008) predicted that RSLs [relative sea levels] might have exceeded present by c. 5 m at 6000 cal. yr BP. [T]he altimetric and chronological data of the valleymouth terraces show a highstand between c. 7000 and 6600 cal. yr BP at c. 4 m a.s.l. [4 meters above present mean sea level], followed by a progressive fall to c. 2–2.5 m between 6200 and 5300 cal. yr BP.”

May et al., 2017  Western Australia, +1 to +2 m higher than present

[T]he mid-Holocene sea-level highstand of Western Australia [was] at least 1–2 m above present mean sea level. … Between approximately 7000 and 6000 years BP, post-glacial RSL [relative sea level] reached a highstand of 1-2 m above the present one, followed by a phase of marine regression (Lambeck and Nakada, 1990; Lewis et al., 2013).”

Kane et al., 2017  Equatorial Pacific, +0.25 to 3 m higher than present

“The high stand is documented across the equatorial Pacific with peak sea-level values ranging from 0.25 to 3.00 m above present mean sea level (MSL) between 1000 and 5000 yr BP (Fletcher and Jones, 1996; Grossman et al., 1998; Dickinson, 2003; Woodroffe et al., 2012). Woodroffe et al. (2012) argues that Holocene sea-level oscillations of a meter or greater are likely to have been produced by local rather than global processes.”

Dechnik et al., 2017  Tropical Western Pacific, +1 to +1.5 m higher than present

[I]t is generally accepted that relative sea level reached a maximum of 1–1.5 m above present mean sea level (pmsl) by ~7 ka [7,000 years ago] (Lewis et al., 2013).”

Leonard, 2017  Great Barrier Reef, +0.75 m higher than present

“The resultant palaeo-sea-level reconstruction revealed a rapid lowering of RSL of at least 0.4 m from 5500 to 5300 yBP following a RSL [relative sea level] highstand of ~0.75 m above present from ~6500 to 5500 yBP. RSL then returned to higher levels before a 2000-yr hiatus in reef flat corals after 4600 yBP. The RSL oscillations at 5500 yBP and 4600 yBP coincide with both substantial reduction in reef accretion and wide spread reef “turn-off”, respectively, thereby suggesting that oscillating sea level was the primary driver of reef shut down on the GBR.”

Chu et al., 2017  Antarctica, +16 to +18 m higher than present

“During 10 000–5800 cal. yr BP, Fildes Peninsula was warm and humid, grounded glaciers retreated and icefree regions were formed. At 6600 cal. yr BP, the sea level was 16–18 m a.m.s.l. [above mean sea level today] and most of Fildes Peninsula was submerged.”

Das et al., 2017   India, +2 m higher than present

“In the absence of any evidence of land-level changes, the study suggests that at around 6 ka to 3 ka [6,000 to 3,000 years ago], the sea was approximately 2 m higher than present.”

Lecea et al., 2017   South Africa, South/Northeast Australia, Brazil, +1.7 m to +3.5 m higher than present

“Ramsay (1995) produced a 9 kyr BP record of sea-level changes from the South African east coast, that showed sea levels reached a high stand of +3.5 m [above present] at 4.65 kyr BP. Similar high stands have been recorded elsewhere in the Southern Hemisphere, on the west coast of South Africa (0 – 3 m [above present], Compton, 2001), in south Australia (1 – 3 m [above present], Belperio et al., 2002), south- and north-east Australia (1.7 m [above present], Baker et al., 2001; 2 m [above present], Larcombe et al., 1995, respectively) and Brazil (2.1 m [above present], Angulo et al., 2006). In South Africa this was followed by a drop below present level before rising to another high stand at 1.6 kyr BP (Compton, 2001; Ramsey, 1995). … In Mozambique, Norström et al., (2012) identified a sea-level highstand ~3 m above present at ~ 6.6 kyr BP.”

Zondervan, 2016    Great Barrier Reef, Australia, +2.85 m higher than present

Preserved fossil coral heads as indicators of Holocene high sea level on One Tree Island [GBR, Australia] … Complete in-situ fossil coral heads have been found on beach rock of One Tree Island, a small cay in the Capricorn Group on the Great Barrier Reef. Measurements against the present low-tide mark provide a [Holocene] high stand of at least +2.85 m [above present sea levels], which can be determined in great accuracy compared to other common paleo sea-level record types like mangrove facies. The sea level recorded here is higher than most recent findings, but supports predictions by isostatic adjustment models. … Although the late Holocene high stand has been debated in the past (e.g. Belperio 1979, Thom et al. 1968), more evidence now supports a sea level high stand of at least + 1- 2 m relative to present sea levels (Baker & Haworth 1997, 2000, Collins et al. 2006, Larcombe et al. 1995, Lewis et al. 2008, Sloss et al. 2007).”

Prieto et al., 2016  Argentina, Uruguay, +4 to +6.5 m higher than present

“Analysis of the RSL [relative sea level] database revealed that the RSL [relative sea level] rose to reach the present level at or before c. 7000 cal yr BP, with the peak of the sea-level highstand c. +4 m [above present] between c. 6000 and 5500 cal yr BP [calendar years before present] … This RSL [relative sea level] curve was re-plotted by Gyllencreutz et al. (2010) using the same index points and qualitative approach but using the calibrated ages. It shows rising sea-levels following the Last Glacial Termination (LGT), reaching a RSL [relative sea level] maximum of +6.5 m above present at c. 6500 cal yr BP [calendar years before present], followed by a stepped regressive trend towards the present.”

Hodgson et al., 2016  East Antarctica, +8 m higher than present (rate: +1.2 to +4.8 m per century)

Rapid early Holocene sea-level rise in Prydz Bay, East Antarctica  The field data show rapid increases in rates of relative sea level rise of 12–48 mm/yr [1.2 to 4.8 meters per century] between 10,473 (or 9678) and 9411 cal yr BP in the Vestfold Hills and of 8.8 mm/yr between 8882 and 8563 cal yr BP in the Larsemann Hills. … The geological data imply a regional RSL [relative sea level] high stand of c. 8 m [above present levels], which persisted between 9411 cal yr BP and 7564 cal yr BP [calendar years before present], and was followed by a period when deglacial sea-level rise was almost exactly cancelled out by local rebound.”


Spotorno-Oliveira et al., 2016  Brazil, +4 m higher than present

“The transgressing sea rapidly rose until reaching the ~ +4 m highstand [above present] level around 5000 years BP.”

Lee et al., 2016  Southeast Australia, +1-2 m higher than present

“The configuration suggests surface inundation of the upper sediments by marine water during the mid-Holocene (c. 2–8 kyr BP), when sea level was 1–2 m above today’s level.”


May et al., 2016  Western Australia, +1-2 m higher than present

“Beach ridge evolution over a millennial time scale is also indicated by the landward rise of the sequence possibly corresponding to the mid-Holocene sea-level highstand of WA [Western Australia] of at least 1-2 m above present mean sea level.”

Accordi and Carbone, 2016  Kenya, Africa, +3.5 m to +6 m higher than present

“Then, the skeletal carbonate storage on the shelf reached its maximum 5 to 4 ka BP [5000 to 4000 years before present] (Ramsay, 1995) during a highstand about 3.5 m above the present sea level, when shallow marine accommodation space was greater than at present. … Along the Kenyan coast, a sea level stand above the present one during the mid-Holocene is documented in many places along the coast by various authors (Hori, 1970; Toyah et al., 1973; Åse, 1981, 1987; Oosterom, 1988), where the sea level might have reached +6 m above the Kenyan Datum between 2 and 3 ka BP [2000 and 3000 years before present].”


Mann et al., 2016  Indonesia, +0.5 m higher than present

“Radiometrically calibrated ages from emergent fossil microatolls on Pulau Panambungan indicate a relative sea-level highstand not exceeding 0.5 m above present at ca. 5600 cal. yr BP [calendar years before present].”

Clement et al., 2016   New Zealand, +2.75 m higher than present

“In North Island locations the early-Holocene sea-level highstand was quite pronounced, with RSL [relative sea level] up to 2.75 m higher than present. In the South Island the onset of highstand conditions was later, with the first attainment of PMSL being between 7000–6400 cal yr BP. In the mid-Holocene the northern North Island experienced the largest sea-level highstand, with RSL up to 3.00 m higher than present.”


Leonard et al., 2016  Great Barrier Reef, Australia, +0.75 m higher than present

RSL [relative sea level] was at least 0.75 m above present from ~6500 to 5500 yr before present (yr BP; where “present” is 1950). Following this highstand, two sites indicated a coeval lowering of RSL of at least 0.4 m from 5500 to 5300 yr BP which was maintained for ~200 yr. After the lowstand, RSL returned to higher levels before a 2000-yr hiatus in reef flat corals after 4600 yr BP at all three sites. A second possible RSL lowering event of ~0.3 m from ~2800 to 1600 yr BP was detected before RSL stabilised ~0.2 m above present levels by 900 yr BP. While the mechanism of the RSL instability is still uncertain, the alignment with previously reported RSL oscillations, rapid global climate changes and mid-Holocene reef “turn-off” on the GBR are discussed.”


Macreadie et al., 2015  Austalia, Eastern, +2 m higher than present

“[R]esults from other studies … suggest that high-stand, at perhaps 2 m above present msl [mean sea level] was achieved as early as 7000 radiocarbon years BP (7800 cal. years BP) [before present] and that sea-level has exceeded the present value for much of the mid- to late-Holocene [~7000 to ~1000 years ago].”

Lewis et al., 2015  Australia, Northeastern, +1 to +2 m higher than present

“[D]ata show a Holocene sea-level highstand of 1–2 m higher than present which extended from ca. 7500 to 2000 yr ago (Woodroffe, 2003; Sloss et al., 2007; Lewis et al., 2013). The hydro-isostatic adjustment is thought to account for these 1–2 m sea-level changes [falling] to present levels over the past 2000 yr (Lambeck and Nakada, 1990; Lambeck, 2002). … [R]eliable SLI data such as coral pavements and tubeworms from Western Australia suggest that relative sea-level was 0.86 m and 0.80 m above present at 1060 ± 10 and 1110 ± 170 cal. yr BP [~1100 calendar years before present], respectively (Baker et al., 2005; Collins et al., 2006).”

Harris et al., 2015  Great Barrier Reef, Australia, +1 to +1.3 m higher than present

“This hiatus in sediment infill coincides with a sea-level fall of 1–1.3 m during the late Holocene (ca. 2000 cal. yr B.P.), which would have caused the turn-off of highly productive live coral growth on the reef flats currently dominated by less productive rubble and algal flats, resulting in a reduced sediment input to back-reef environments and the cessation in sand apron accretion. Given that relative sea-level variations of 1 m were common throughout the Holocene, we suggest that this mode of sand apron development and carbonate production is applicable to most reef systems. … Microatoll death was most likely caused by a fall in sea level that stranded the microatolls on the reef flat due to their location in open-water unmoated environments. This suggests that paleo–sea level between 3900 and 2200 cal. yr B.P. was 1–1.3 m higher than present (based on an offset from MLWS tidal level to fossil microatoll elevation; Fig. 2). This paleo–sealevel elevation is similar to the ranges of 1–1.5 m suggested by Lewis et al. (2013) and Sloss et al. (2007) and data from Moreton Bay in southern Queensland of an elevation of 1.3 m (Leonard et al., 2013).”

Hein et al., 2015  Brazil, +1 to +4 m higher than present

“In southern Brazil, falling RSL [relative sea level] following a 2–4 m [above present sea level] highstand at 5 to 6 ka [5,000 to 6,000 years ago] forced coastal progradation. … Relative SL [sea level] along the southern Brazil coast reached a highstand elevation of 1–4 m above MSL [mean sea level] at ca. 5.8 ka [5800 years ago].”

Engel et al., 2015  Western Australia, +1.5 m higher than present

“The foredunes overlie upper beach deposits located up to >2 m above the present upper beach level and provide evidence for a higher mid-Holocene RSL [relative sea level]. …  [O]bservations made near Broome by Lessa and Masselink (2006) [indicate] the deposition of backshore deposits up to c. 1.5 m above present MHW [mean high water] between c. 2100–800 cal BP [2100-800 calendar years before present].”

Rashid et al., 2014  French Polynesia, +1.5 m higher than present

“Upon correction for isostatic island subsidence, we find that local relative sea level was at least ~1.5±0.4 m higher than present at ~5,400 years ago.”

Strachan et al., 2014  South Africa, +3 m higher than present

“During the last 7000 years, southern African sea levels have fluctuated by no more than ±3 m. Sea-level curves based on observational data for southern Africa indicate that Holocene highstands occurred at 6000 and again at 4000 cal years BP, followed by a lowstand from 3000 to 2000 cal years B P. The mid-Holocene highstands culminated in a sea-level maximum of approximately 3 m above mean sea level (MSL) from 7300 to 6500 cal years BP [calendar years before present] and of 2 m above MSL at around 4000 cal years BP.  Thereafter, RSL dropped to slightly below the present level between 3500 and 2800 cal years BP.  Sea-level fluctuations during the late Holocene in southern Africa were relatively small (1-2 m); however, these fluctuations had a major impact on past coastal environments.  Evidence from the west coast suggests that there was a highstand of 0.5 m above MSL from 1500 to 1300 cal years BP [calendar years before present] or possibly earlier (1800 cal years BP), followed by a lowstand (-0.5 m above MSL) from 700 to 400 cal years BP [during the Little Ice Age].”

Yamano et al., 2014 Southwest Pacific Ocean, +1.1 m higher than present

“Mba Island initially formed around ~ 4500 cal yr B.P. [4500 calendar years before present], when sea level was ~ 1.1 m higher than at present.”

Kench et al., 2014  Marshall Islands (Central Pacific), +1.1 m higher than present

[T]he mid-Holocene [sea level] highstand is reported to have peaked at approximately +1.1 m above present and was sustained until approximately 2000 years B.P. [before present] in the Marshall Islands.”

Hein et al., 2014  Brazil, +1 to +4 m higher than present

“Along the eastern and southern Brazilian coasts of South America, 6000 years of sea-level fall have preserved late-stage transgressive and sea-level highstand features 1–4 m above present mean sea level and several kilometers landward of modern shorelines.”

Bracco et al., 2014  Uruguay, +3 to +4 m higher than present

“Highlights:  We present a sea level change curve for mid Holocene in Uruguay.  Sea level reached 4 m amsl [above present mean sea level] between 6000 and 5500 yr BP [before present].   A rapid sea level fall to about 1 m amsl [above present mean sea level] was inferred for 4700-4300 yr BP.  A further sea level increase to about 3 m amsl [above present mean sea level] was inferred after 4300 yr BP.  After 4300 yr BP there was a constant sea level a decline.”

Lewis et al., 2013 SE Australia, ~ +1.3 to +1.6 m higher than present

“Sea-level estimates based on coral microatoll evidence places relative sea level at ~1.3 to 1.5 m [above present] between 6770 and 5750 cal. yr BP (original ages provided in Chappell et al., 1983; Yu and Zhao, 2010), in good accord with that derived from oyster bed data at ~1.6 m between 6280 and 5720 cal. yr BP (Beaman et al., 1994; Higley, 2000; Lewis et al., 2008).”

Watcham et al., 2011 Antarctic Peninsula, +15.5 meters higher than present

“The curve shows a mid-Holocene RSL highstand on Fildes Peninsula at 15.5 m above mean sea level between 8000 and 7000 cal a BP.”