November 27, 2012

Everything’s Moving: Relative Sea Level Rise Explained


Josh Kent, Louisiana State University

In the old days, in order to measure elevations, we had to rely on brass discs we called benchmarks, which we hammered deep into the ground. And these would tell us how things are and what the elevation of things would be. But what we found was that the sea level started to rise relative to these benchmarks. And as they were rising, we could measure them.

But in South Louisiana, what we were finding, it wasn’t just sea level rise in action, it was also subsidence. The ground was sinking, taking the benchmark with it. So what we have to do is come up with a better way of making measurements of how sea level is rising and how the ground is subsiding. And for that we use modern technology we call GPS.



Read the full-length feature story: Thriving on a Sinking Landscape