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article imageStatistics yields worrying data on sea levels

By Tim Sandle     Aug 12, 2017 in Environment
Baltimore - Applying data science to study the environment provides greater accuracy in terms of understanding global shifts; however, it also produces new aspects of concern. Big data analytics show new trends relating to sea levels.
By taking a new approach, researchers hope to save lives, protect businesses, and warn communities that are located along the East Coast of the U.S. Sea levels in these regions are showing the rise in the water level is accelerating at a far more rapid pace compared with previous assessment. The rises will have a destructive impact.
The new assessment is based on a new computer-run statistical model. The new data about the increased rate of the sea level rise comes from the University College Dublin. The assessment set out to fully account for uncertainty using statistical methods. This was achieved by examining two data sets. The first data set was formed from measurements about sediment levels along the East Coast, dating back from 2,000 years ago to the recent period. The second array of data included a series of tide gauges from around the world dating back to the 1800s and until the present.
Deltas around the world are sinking  according to a new study led by CU-Boulder. This image of the P...
Deltas around the world are sinking, according to a new study led by CU-Boulder. This image of the Pearl River Delta in China taken was by NASA's space shuttle Endeavour, with the areas below sea level shown in purple.
Image courtesy NASA, CSDMS, University of Colorado
The analysis of this data showed data that had been gathered from years ago contained several uncertainties and that recent records yielded more certainty than older ones. This mean the data could not simply be taken as found and the trends assessed based on alterations to the data; instead a statistical model was needed to take into account the uncertainties with the older data.
By applying method correction, the researchers, led by Professor Andrew Parnell, demonstrated that sea level rises on the East Coast has been much less than 1 millimeter per year for the period 0 CE to 1800 CE. However, from here (after the start of the Industrial Revolution) the rate of change has accelerated and currently the rate of sea level rise along the U.S. East Coast is the highest it has been for over 2,000 years. Moreover, this is not static but rising at an accelerated rate. Perhaps most concerning is with New York City, where the rate of sea level rise is more than 3 millimeters per year. Most homes and business premises in this region are less than 1 meter above sea level.
The new data has yet to be published in a peer reviewed journal. However, the findings have been presented to the Joint Statistical Meetings conference which took place in Baltimore during early August 2017. The Joint Statistical Meetings is the largest gathering of statisticians held in North America, with a focus on statistical applications, methodology and theory, and analytics and data science.
More about Sea levels, East coast, big data, big data analytics, data science
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