Physical Geography

Sea-level change

Årneset, Andøya
Pål Ringkjøb Nielsen

Main content

Global sea levels are currently rising, mainly as a result of melting glaciers and ice sheets, and thermal expansion of seawater caused by global warming. However; due to a range of complex mechanisms, such as glacial isostatic adjustment and changes in ocean currents or the Earth’s gravitational field, the spatial distribution of this rise is not geographically uniform across the globe. At the Department of Geography we study mainly prehistoric sea-level change along the Norwegian coast, all the way back to the late glacial period, when the outer coast first became ice-free. By reconstructing in detail how sea level has fluctuated in Norway and comparing this to global datasets, our aim is to gain a better understanding of how the different components involved in sea-level change have operated in the past. This will in turn help us understand how sea level will respond to future climate change, on spatial scales ranging from local to global. Current projects at the department are looking into postglacial sea-level change from western Norway to Lofoten.