Document Type



Virginia Institute of Marine Science

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Will sea level be higher the next time Virginia encounters a hurricane? The most likely answer is ‘yes’. See for my article titled The three Faces of Isabel describing the role of changing sea level in shaping the storm tide produced by Hurricane Isabel on 18 September 2003. As explained in that article, a storm tide is the extreme water level that results when storm surge, the short-term change in water level due to the effects of the storm, is superposed on the everyday rise and fall of the astronomical tide that happens to be in place as the storm arrives at the coastline. Isabel’s third face emerged from the long-term change in sea level within the Hampton Roads area: the rising mean sea level trend of 4.42 mm/year or 1.45 feet/century at Hampton Roads (Sewells Point) VA reported by the National Ocean Service, a division of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). This trend, however, is not the only important contributor to sea level change that we will witness in the future.


Sea level, climatic change

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