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Several New Papers Indicate Sea Levels Were 1 – 3 Meters Higher Than Today A Few Thousand Years Ago

Several New Papers Indicate Sea Levels Were 1 – 3 Meters Higher Than Today A Few Thousand Years Ago

Both during the last interglacial (~120,000 years ago) and from roughly 2000 to 7000 years ago, relative sea levels were from 6-10 meters to 1-3 meters higher than they are today, respectively.

For a list of over 100 other scientific papers indicating sea levels across the world were multiple meters higher when Earth’s CO2 concentrations were about 150 ppm lower than they are today (~260 ppm), see our databasehere.

The Mid-Holocene, 2000-7000 years ago

Lopez-Belzunce et al., 2020(Mediterranean)

“Regarding the stabilization of the RSL [relative sea level], our data show it to be 1.20 m above the present-day level at 3000 cal yr BP and 1 m higher at 2000 cal yr BP.”

Burley et al., 2020 (Polynesia)

“At the time of first Lapita arrival at Nukuleka, sea levels were 1.2–1.4 m higher than present (Dickinson 2007).”

Lopes et al., 2020 (Brazil)

“The late Pleistocene-middle Holocene post-glacial marine transgression (PMT) that started around 18 ka b2k in response to the melting of ice caps and glaciers, together with increased precipitation, would have led to another lake highstand (Figure 3A). Sea-level curves obtained from several sites along the Brazilian coast show that a mean sea level (m.s.l.) equal to the present one was reached at ~7 ka b2k, and continued to rise until reaching up to +5 meters between 6 and 5 ka b2k (Martin et al., 2003; Angulo et al., 2006). In the CPRS the PMT formed the Barrier IV, and the estimates based on geologic and fossil records indicate that it reached amplitude of about 2-3 meters above the present m.s.l. (Barboza and Tomazelli, 2003; Caron, 2007; Lima et al., 2013; Dillenburg et al., 2017).”
“The altitude of the terrace T3 above the fossils of Toxodon found in situ indicates this was cut by the Holocene sea-level highstand that reached a maximum altitude of 3 meters [above present] between 6 and 5.1 ka b2k. At that time Mirim Lake was invaded by the Atlantic Ocean through Taim and São Gonçalo channel, becoming a large paleo-lagoon with conditions suitable for its occupation by marine organisms, including sharks, rays, teleost fishes and whales. The coastal waters were warmer than today, as indicated by the presence of fossils of the shark Carcharhinus leucas, common in tropical areas.”

Image Source: Lopes et al., 2020

Brocx and Semeniuk, 2020 (Western Australia)

“The Holocene stratigraphy in the Walpole–Nornalup Inlet Estuary shows that mean sea level was 1 m higher than present some 2900–1200 years BP (Semeniuk et al., 2011).”

Helfensdorfer, 2020 (Australia)

“This study presents a well-constrained model of the geomorphic evolution of the lower Murray River and Murray estuary with a specific focus on the response of the system to the Holocene sea-level highstand. Hydrodynamic modelling of the lower Murray River and Murray estuary was conducted to evaluate the primary drivers of palaeo-environmental change during the Holocene and constrain the plausible response of the Murray estuary to the +2 m higher-than-present sea level of the Holocene sea-level highstand.”

Martin et al., 2020 (Western Australia)

Sea level high stands (~2 m higher than present) occurred at ~7 and 4 ka (Gouramanis et al., 2012) that likely caused seawater intrusion events into the aquifer”

The Last Interglacial (LIG), ~120,000 years ago

Muh et al., 2020 (Bahamas, Bermuda)

“Corals with closed-system histories collected from patch reefs on NPI have ages of 128-118 ka and ooids/peloids from beach ridges have closed-system ages of 128-116 ka. Elevations of patch reefs indicate a LIG paleo-sea level of at least ∼7 m to ∼9 m above present. Beach ridge sediments indicate paleo-sea levels of ∼5 m to ∼14 m (assuming subsidence, ∼7 m to ∼16 m) above present during the LIG. …. Results of this study show that at the end of the LIG paleo-sea levels could have been as high as 11-13 m above present (at localities close to North American ice sheets) to as little as 5-8 m above present (at localities distant from North American ice sheets).”

Helm et al., 2020 (South Africa)

“Around 126 ka, sea levels were 6.6-8 m higher than present levels on the Cape south coast [of South Africa]. … Chronological context11 suggests an age of MIS 5e (the Last Interglacial). As sea levels during MIS 5e in this area were up to 6-8 m higher than at present, a warmer climate capable of supporting large reptiles on the Cape south coast can be inferred.”