A Bayesian hierarchical model for reconstructing relative sea level: from raw data to rates of change.
Kemp, Andrew C.
Horton, B. P. (Benjamin P.)
Parnell, Andrew C.
- We present a Bayesian hierarchical model for reconstructing the continuous and dynamic evolution of relative sea-level (RSL) change with quantified uncertainty. The reconstruction is produced from biological (foraminifera) and geochemical (δ13C) sea-level indicators preserved in dated cores of salt-marsh sediment. Our model is comprised of three modules: (1) a new Bayesian transfer (B-TF) function ... read morefor the calibration of biological indicators into tidal elevation, which is flexible enough to formally accommodate additional proxies; (2) an existing chronology developed using the Bchron age-depth model, and (3) an existing Errors-In-Variables integrated Gaussian process (EIV-IGP) model for estimating rates of sea-level change. Our approach is illustrated using a case study of Common Era sea-level variability from New Jersey, USA We develop a new B-TF using foraminifera, with and without the additional (δ13C) proxy and compare our results to those from a widely used weighted-averaging transfer function (WA-TF) The formal incorporation of a second proxy into the B-TF model results in smaller vertical uncertainties and improved accuracy for reconstructed RSL. The vertical uncertainty from the multi-proxy B-TF is ∼ 28% smaller on average compared to the WA-TF. When evaluated against historic tide-gauge measurements, the multi-proxy B-TF most accurately reconstructs the RSL changes observed in the instrumental record (mean square error = 0.003m2) The Bayesian hierarchical model provides a single, unifying framework for reconstructing and analyzing sea-level change through time. This approach is suitable for reconstructing other paleoenvironmental variables (e.g., temperature) using biological proxies.read less
- Cahill, N., Kemp, A. C., Horton, B. P., and Parnell, A. C.: A Bayesian hierarchical model for reconstructing relative sea level: from raw data to rates of change, Clim. Past, 12, 525-542, https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-12-525-2016, 2016.
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