“One of the most serious ramifications of global warming is that sea levels will rise in the near future,” explains Prof. Potchter. “Our research contributes to understanding the rate that the sea level rose in the last 150 years since the Industrial Revolution, and provides an indication of the rate it will rise in the future. It is the first study conducted in Israel that provides information on the rate of sea level change in this period,” he elaborates.
The aim of the study was to estimate the timeline of the changes in sea level elevation in the eastern Mediterranean over the last two centuries, given that the sea level in Israel during the Crusader period (12th-13th centuries CE) was found to be 0.5 ± 0.20 meters lower than the present mean sea level. Since instrumental measurements were not available before 1955, the researchers employed two methods to examine changes in sea level: examining archaeological evidence and determining coastline changes based on coastal architectural and geomorphological structures appearing in historical maps. Both the structural and the cartographic evidence for sea level changes indicate a rise of 36 cm. over the last two centuries.
Findings indicate a gradual migration of the coastline landward to the east since 1863 and a rapid change in the coastal geomorphology at the beginning of the 20th century. This drastic change in the coastline may indicate an extreme meteorological event, such as a storm at sea, accompanied by a local rise of sea level, but further research is required to verify this.