Essentials of Oceanography

Lesson 5 Introduction


The Sea is Rising, the Sea is Rising

About Lesson 5

We will complete Lesson 5 in one week. The topic is vast, and perhaps worthy of a course in itself: climate change and its impact on sea level and the coastal zone. Our plan is to first study the methods, data, and observations related to past, present and future sea level change, then evaluate the impact of sea level change on the coastal zone. We will examine the interplay of data and models as well --inasmuch as future predictions are model based. Along the way, you will learn a little something about coastal evolution. Critical reading and evaluation of data are again key components of the Lesson. As you might surmise, future sea level rise is a controversial topic. We'll have some fun with the blogosphere and media distortion of scientific results.

What will we learn in Lesson 5?

By the end of Lesson 5, you should be able to:

  • Explain the implications of global warming for sea level change
  • Discuss the components of predicted future sea level rise
  • Outline the impacts of sea level rise on the coastal zone
  • Explain why beaches are dynamic features subject to continual change.
  • Explain the origin of coastal estuaries and their history over the past 18 thousand years
  • Relate the history of climate, continental ice sheets, and sea level of the past

What is due for Lesson 5?

As you work your way through these online materials for Lesson 5, you will encounter additional reading assignments and hands-on exercises and activities. The chart below provides an overview of the requirements for Lesson 5. For assignment details, refer to the lesson page noted.

Lesson 5 Assignments
Reading: Sea Level Rise, After the Ice Melted and Today page 1  

Reading: IPCC Report: Observations: Oceanic Climate Change and Sea Level (this is a biggie!)

Activity 1: Questions regarding sea level mechanisms and timing

page 2


Essential Background Reading

Yes, Canvas Dropbox

Reading: "Birth of the modern Chesapeake Bay estuary"

Activity 2: Questions regarding methods and implications

page 4


Yes, Canvas Dropbox


Post them to our Questions discussion forum on Canvas or get in touch by email.