Articles | Volume 11, issue 4
Research article
30 Jul 2015
Research article |  | 30 Jul 2015

Accelerated sea level rise and Florida Current transport

J. Park and W. Sweet

Abstract. The Florida Current is the headwater of the Gulf Stream and is a component of the North Atlantic western boundary current from which a geostrophic balance between sea surface height and mass transport directly influence coastal sea levels along the Florida Straits. A linear regression of daily Florida Current transport estimates does not find a significant change in transport over the last decade; however, a nonlinear trend extracted from empirical mode decomposition (EMD) suggests a 3 Sv decline in mean transport. This decline is consistent with observed tide gauge records in Florida Bay and the straits exhibiting an acceleration of mean sea level (MSL) rise over the decade. It is not known whether this recent change represents natural variability or the onset of the anticipated secular decline in Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC); nonetheless, such changes have direct impacts on the sensitive ecological systems of the Everglades as well as the climate of western Europe and eastern North America.

Short summary
Changes in mass transport of the Florida Current induce significant coastal sea level changes along the Florida Straits and middle Atlantic coast of North America. Analysis of Florida Current transport data finds a decrease in mean transport over the last decade. This decrease coincides with a decrease in AMOC and acceleration of coastal sea levels along the Florida Straits.