Since June, tides have been running from 6 inches to 2 feet above what would normally be expected, even considering seasonal and lunar fluctuations. While local tidal changes are not uncommon, researchers for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration aren't sure they have ever recorded an event like this one, which is showing up all the way from Maine to Florida. In North Carolina, tides have been about a foot above normal predictions.
"Right now we're trying to get a better understanding of what's the cause," said Mike Szabados, director of NOAA's tide and current program in Silver Spring, Md.Global warming isn't to blame, scientists say, as the rise was too sudden. Possibly, Szabados said, the explanation lies in something called the North Atlantic oscillation, a disturbance in the atmospheric pressure in the area of the North Atlantic Ocean between the Icelandic Low and the Azores High.
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