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Introducing Sea Level Change
Introducing Sea Level Change

Introducing Sea Level Change

Introducing Earth and Environmental Sciences


101 Pages, 8.54 x 8.54

Formats: Trade Paper

Trade Paper, $25.00 (US $25.00) (CA $32.00)

Publication Date: November 2018

ISBN 9781780460871

Rights: US & CA

Dunedin Academic Press (Nov 2018)

Price: $25.00


One of the most important issues in current debates on climate change is sea level rise. Hardly a day goes by when there is not a newspaper article, TV or radio presentation on the topic. Nearly half of the world's population live on or near the coast, so there is real concern about the impact that future sea level rise may have. Yet media predictions of future changes tend to be depicted in a sensationalist manner and quite often the explanations of the science of sea level change bear little relation to reality. This book details the history of scientific discoveries that have explained the patterns of sea level change that have taken place across the Earth in the past. Alastair Dawson introduces the many complex processes, some of which are not well-known, that influence patterns and rates of relative sea level change. Using this knowledge, the reader is much better placed to form a clearer perspective on what the future is likely to have in store for sea levels on Earth.Alastair Dawson first addresses some of the most important misconceptions about the topic of sea level change. He then explains the principal causes of sea level change focusing on the key issues of vertical land movements and changes in global ocean volume. He explores the key areas of science that we need to understand in order to evaluate competing assertions of how sea level is likely to change in the future. He also shows how, remarkably, the melting history of the last great ice sheets on Earth is still playing an important part in contributing to present patterns of sea level change. The book concludes with a consideration of the rates and patterns of sea level change that have occurred over the last century and demonstrates how satellite technology is presently contributing new ways of understanding of present patterns of change.


'This book is a timely publication due to current debates on climate change and is part of a series that focuses on introducing a particular subject area. It is a good format, not too long (only 84 pages, excluding glossary and further reading) and written in a way that is accessible to those at undergraduate level. The aim of the book is to introduce the subject of sea level change in a concise, readable way and to provide the reader with the key scientific information that is needed to understand the complex nature of sea level change. Sea level rise is an important issue within the broader topic of climate change. As about half the world's population lives near the coast, sea level rise is a real cause for concern for many people. However, sea level rise is not simply due to the melting of ice sheets and glaciers due to climate change, nor is the change uniform across the globe. Alistair Dawson attempts and succeeds to produce a 'rough guide' to sea level change by producing simple and straightforward explanations of a highly complicated topic.' The Holocene'The aim of this book is to provide the reader with a better perspective of what the future is likely to have in store for sea-levels than the often sensationalist and frequently unrealistic depictions imparted in the media… In my opinion this is a great little book... In It, Dawson has supplied the reader with a clearly understandable and balanced, 'warts and all' account of the current scientific understanding of sea-level change in all its complexity. Such level-headed books on subjects related to climate change are sorely needed… I encourage you to purchase a copy and read it.' The Australian Geologist (TAG)'Introducing Sea Level Change more than fulfils its aim of providing the key scientific information on which to understand and discuss the topic. It gives a concise and accessible overview of sea level change without compromising its scientific rigour. It would give any able sixth form student, undergraduate or teacher a focussed explanation of the topic. The book would also be of great value to policy-makers and members of the public who want to be better informed about such an important aspect of climate change and the environmental consequences of sea level change.' Teaching Earth Sciences'This succinct 101 pages text provides a scientific perspective on sea level change and enables readers from introductory students to general interest backgrounds to go beyond the hype and headline figures to forge an understanding of the causes, questions and rigorous techniques for estimating sea level change. One of the key strengths of the book is to demystify common misunderstandings about sea level, and a second is to delve deeply but simply into the quandaries which must be resolved in order to provide a good understanding of sea level change.' Scottish Geographical Journal'Introducing Sea Level Change packs a lot into 101 pages. A stimulating introductory chapter on the meaning of sea-level covers everything from the Potsdam gravity 'potato' and the geoidal surface, to the politics of sea-level change, via tide gauges, radar interferometry and the Last Glacial Maximum. The following three chapters deal with the reconstruction of past sea-level changes, including the types of evidence used, the construction of sea-level curves and the long-term record. Chapters 5 and 6 review what we know about the causes of sea-level change, including isostatic, eustatic and steric changes. Chapters 7-10 provide a view of long-term sea-level change over the last full glacial cycle. This section provides an excellent insight into the complexity of unravelling past sea-level change, from modelling the impact of the gravitational pull of former ice sheets on sea-level, to the evidence for meltwater pulses and catastrophic sea-level rise at the end of the last glaciation. The final two chapters of the book focus on present and future change, and the difficulties of predicting how sea-level

Author Biography

Alastair Dawson is Honorary Professor of Physical Geography at the University of Dundee. He is a graduate of the University of Aberdeen, Louisiana State University and the University of Edinburgh. He has published over 100 academic papers on various aspects of sea level change research and coastal science undertaken over the last 40 years.