||Professor Ian Shennan, Anthony J. Long, Benjamin P. Horton
||American Geographical Union
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Every year, countless articles, books, social media, and TV programs debate the importance (or not) of sea-level change; the change debated is mainly sea-level rise, but sea-level fall is also possible and important. Millions of people live along the coast, estuaries, and adjacent coastal lowlands and many will concur with the view that "Due to sea level rise projected throughout the 21st century and beyond, coastal systems and low-lying areas will increasingly experience adverse impacts such as submergence, coastal flooding, and coastal erosion." Significant debate over some of the causes and consequences of recent and future sea-level change remains within and between many communities including science, the media, coastal residents, industry, politics, and governments. Environments, communities, livelihoods, real-estate. and cash are all at stake. While improved understanding of the causes, impacts, and responses to sea-level change are of undeniable importance in many disciplines, these are not the subject of this book. With the range of technology available today, we can measure changes every few minutes with tide gauges and across entire oceans using satellites. Yet these offer only a small part of the wider picture. How does the variability we observe using these technologies fit with longer-term trends? Do our decades of instrumental observations adequately cover the natural variability and extreme events of the past and those we are likely to experience in the future? Most researchers would probably give a very guarded answer; some would give a forthright "No". We need to bring together the evidence across a greater range of Umescales, from seconds to millennia or even longer, for a complete analysis.