New Study: U.S. East Coast Has GROWN +5 cm/year Since 1960 After Eroding -55 cm/year During 1830-1956

Despite reports of relatively high regional rates of sea level rise, the Atlantic Coast of the United States has actually been expanding in recent decades after rapidly shrinking prior to the 1960s.

A 2001 Salon magazine “terror in the skies” alarmism article featured a Dr. James Hansen late-1980s prediction that New York City’s West Side Highway would be underwater within 20 years.

Image Source:

Of course the West Side Highway is not underwater today.

Nor does it appear that there have been any detectable changes to its shoreline position since 1936.

In fact, outside the realm of popularized alarmism, it is well known that geological processes are more determinative of relative sea level changes than climate factors contributing to sea level rise or fall (i.e., glacier melt or advance).

Piecuch et al. (2018) concluded “the majority of large-scale spatial variation in long-term rates of relative sea-level rise on the US East Coast is due to geological processes that will persist at similar rates for centuries.”

Image Source: Piecuch et al., 2018

Pfeffer and colleagues (2017) assessed 849 coastal sites and determined that geophysical processes, or vertical land motion (VLM) trends (ranging from −13 to +16 mm yr−1 ), “have been recognized as a dominant component of the total relative sea-level variations observed at coasts” at locations throughout the globe.

Image Source: Pfeffer et al., 2017

In a new paper, Armstrong and Lazarus (2019) indicate “trends in recent rates of shoreline change along the U.S. Atlantic Coast reflect an especially puzzling increase in accretion, not erosion.”

The numbers are indeed “especially puzzling” for those immersed in sea-level-rise alarmism.

From 1830 to 1956, shorelines eroded at the rapid rate of -55 cm per year on average. Since 1960, the U.S. Atlantic coast has been expanding (accretion) at a rate of +5 cm per year.

The authors seek to provide a “plausible” explanation for this “enigmatic pattern” by suggesting “beach nourishment” (infrastructure development) may explain the tendencies for shorelines to grow as sea levels rise.

For those who do not ascribe to sea-level-rise alarmism, the recent reversal to shoreline accretion is not puzzling and needs no such “plausible” explanation.

Instead, these trends are consistent with a pattern of shoreline growth “all over the world” for the most recent decades.

Image Source: Armstrong and Lazarus, 2019

3 responses to “New Study: U.S. East Coast Has GROWN +5 cm/year Since 1960 After Eroding -55 cm/year During 1830-1956”

  1. John F. Hultquist

    Look for –
    North Cove, WA

    I used Google Earth. Zoom in.
    Note the streets extend over the water.
    This place is known as “Washaway Beach” and there is much on the web using that name.
    A decrease in “beach nourishment” has been suggested.

  2. steve case

    Figure 3 – Kinda hard to tell the plus tens from the minus tens Churchill and Manilla etc.

  3. sasquatch

    The following stats might have something to do with the land growth along the eastern seaboard of North America. In any event, the influences exist.

    North America needs all the help it can get, if hurricanes do the job, more power to them.

    Take a look at the years 1955, then 1965, then 1975, then 1985, then 1995, then 2005, then 2015.

    Then look at year 1980 CE. Next, take a look at year 2010 CE. Then go to 1900, then to 1890 CE. Then to 1870 CE.

    Not that it means a single solitary thing, however, there is a ten year pattern that seems to follow consistently.

    If you have any doubts, look at year 1850 to cement the evidence. If you desire to be a Doubting Thomas, check out 1840. har

    You just never know, you know, hey.

    You always have to keep an open mind, a closed mind exists in the dark, if that’s where you want to be, then it is settled, if you want to be in the dark, then you can be in the dark.

    No sense in lighting a candle, won’t do no good.

    That is all.

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