Washington, September 12 (ANI): Reports indicate that sea levels rose as much as 2 feet (60 centimeters) higher than predicted this summer along the US East Coast, surprising scientists who forecast such periodic fluctuations.
According to National Geographic News, though the immediate cause of the unexpected rise has now been solved, the underlying reason remains a mystery.
Usually, predicting seasonal tides and sea levels is a pretty cut-and-dried process, governed by the known movements and gravitational influences of astronomical bodies like the moon, according to Rich Edwing, deputy director for the Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services at the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
But, NOAA’s phones began ringing this summer when East Coast residents reported higher than predicted water levels, much like those associated with short-term weather events like tropical storms.
These high seas persisted for weeks, throughout June and July.
The startling rise caused only minor coastal flooding, but puzzled scientists.
Now, a new report has identified the two major factors behind the high sea levels-a weakened Gulf Stream and steady winds from the northeastern Atlantic.
The Gulf Stream is a northward-flowing superhighway of ocean water off the US East Coast.
Running at full steam, the powerful current pulls water into its “orbit” and away from the East Coast.
But this summer, for reasons unknown, “the Gulf Stream slowed down,” Edwing said, sending water toward the coasts-and sea levels shooting upward.
Adding to the sustained surge, autumn winds from the northeastern Atlantic arrived a few months early, pushing even more water coastward.
The higher waters caused inconveniences for some anglers and boaters and rearranged a bit of shoreline.
“A couple of sand beaches we’d normally fish from were eaten up. And the volume of water was higher than it normally would be,” said Paulie Apostolides, owner of Paulie’s Tackle in Montauk on New York State’s Long Island.
Even before the new report, released by NOAA on September 2, Apostolides said that many local fishers had already attributed the sea level rise to the “ferocious” winds from the northeast. (ANI)