A coast is submerging when the relative sea level rises above it. Submergence may be caused by sea-level rise, by land subsidence, or by the two.
Between about 20 and 6 kyr ago, when the melting of the Northern Hemisphere continental ice caps was completed, land-ice melting caused the global sea level to rise some 120 m, at an average rate of 8 mm/year, but with peaks reaching 40–50 mm/year during certain periods (Bard et al. 1996). This rise caused the rapid submergence of huge continental shelf areas. Since about 6 kyr ago, the global sea level has remained almost stable in a high, interglacial position. Global sea-level rise for the last century is estimated to be of decimetric order. For the next century, climatic models that take into account increasing greenhouse effects, have predicted scenarios of sea-level rise between 0.09 and 0.88 m, with a central value of 0.48 m (IPCC 2001).
Land subsidence may result from several (neo)tectonic processes. Its rate can be much variable in...
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