NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) - A newly-released report by the US Geological Survey says sea level is rising faster in Norfolk than any other city on the Atlantic coast. Local scientists say the sea level is rising at a rate three to four times faster than anywhere else in the world.
"There is in fact a hot spot along our coast," Virginia Institute of Marine Science professor emeritus and oceanographer John Boon said.
The "Hot Spot" stretches from Cape Hatteras north to Boston. The study says the sea level has risen in this region by anywhere from two to almost four millimeters since 1990.
Globally, the average sea level rise for the 20th century was about 1.7 millimeters per year, which has grown to 3.1 millimeters per year.
Scientists that produced this latest report say Norfolk can expect much worse.
"Rates as high as six millimeters per year appear now to be quite possible in our area," Boon said. "What that means is storms that didn't bother us that much, even a northeaster for example fifty years ago, are going to begin to bother us more and more as we go forward."
According to Boon, the sea level rise in the "hot spot" really doesn't have that much to do with melting glaciers and thermal expansion of ocean waters.
"This has got to do with ocean circulation in the north Atlantic," Boon said. "Part of what's called the Atlantic Meridian Overturning Circulation and the effects have been sort of predicted, if you will."
The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration provides real-time information online .
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