Publication Details

This article was originally published as Bryant, EA, Roy, PS and Thom, BG, Australia—an unstable platform for tide-gauge measurements of changing sea levels: A discussion, Journal of Geology, 96, 1988, 635-640.


The recent detailed analyses by Aubrey and Emery (1986) of Australian sea level trends continues their efforts to define tectonic and climatic factors worldwide that dominate long- and short-term fluctuations respectively in sea level records. These factors have included sediment and water loading on the adjacent shelf, the tectonic behaviour of plates, fluctuations in the Southern Oscillation, behaviour of currents impinging on the shelf, and river runoff. We do not object to these efforts; however we are disturbed by misrepresentations in their recent paper on Australian sea levels regarding (1) the interpretation of the nature of sea-level records, (2) the use of tectonic explanations to account for low-frequency sea level trends and (3) the somewhat incomplete and sometimes inaccurate consideration of the effects of climatic variables upon sea level fluctuations and trends.