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September 20, 2016

Are rates of sea level rise increasing faster along the West or the East Coast of the United States?

  1. West
  2. East
  3. It's the same for both

To see the answer, scroll down below the image.

Image: Tidal Marshland in the Plum Island Estuary, Massachusetts
Tidal Marshland in the Plum Island Estuary, Massachusetts. Photograph Credit: Matthew Kirwan, USGS

The correct answer is the East Coast. Rates of sea level rise are increasing three to four times faster along portions of the U.S. Atlantic Coast than globally. Since about 1990, sea-level rise in the 600-mile stretch of coastal zone from Cape Hatteras, N.C., to north of Boston, Mass., has increased from 2 to 3.7 millimeters per year; the global increase over the same period was from 0.6 to 1.0 millimeter per year.  

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