Paleo sea levels, in particularly those of past interglacials, are of particular interest for the scientific community (and society at large) as they provide us with natural experiments involving a climate system as warm or slightly warmer than today. Of particular interest is the degree to which relatively small perturbations to climate variables such as atmospheric temperature, solar heating (insolation), or CO2 can lead to polar ice volume and sea level changes.
How can we improve our understanding of past eustatic sea level changes?
PLIOMAX – Pliocene sea level maximum. 2011-present. We collaborate with the PLIOMAX project led by PI Maureen Raymo at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University. PlioMax is a five-year research project funded by the US National Science Foundation that aims to increase the accuracy of global sea level estimates for the mid-Pliocene warm period, between 3.3 and 2.9 million years ago.
MEDFLOOD – MEDFLOOD. 2012-present. is is a four-year interdisciplinary project funded by INQUA and launched in 2012 by a team of scientists working in fields concerned with Mediterranean sea-level change. The project has the timely and ambitious aim to build a spatially explicit database of relative sea level markers for the Mediterranean and to use this resource to model risk and help project future flooding in and around the Mediterranean basin.
RSLmap and RSLcalc – We are working with colleagues from Columbia University on a crowdsourced database of relative sea level data. RSLmap is a map of Pliocene and Pleistocene shorelines from published studies. RSLcalc is a spreadsheet that can be used for calculating relative sea levels from geological field data. In addition to containing fields for essential observations and metadata, the spreadsheet contains equations that can calculate the position of a former sea level, corrected for tectonics using the observational values inserted and from uncertainty measured in the field