Global Mean Sea Level - Graph

Laboratory for Satellite Altimetry / Sea Level Rise

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As our planet warms, the ocean’s surface is rising. Water expands as it warms, and melting of ice sheets and glaciers on land adds water to the ocean.

Where do these measurements come from?

Local measurements of sea level change reflect any vertical motion of the land: if land sinks, sea level rises. Conversely, if land moves up, sea level appears to be going down. To remove the motion of land from sea level measurements, sea level is measured by instruments on satellites. Since 1992, satellite radar altimeters on the series ofTOPEX and Jason satellites have been taking measurements to monitor global mean sea level. The measurements are continuously checked against a network of tide gauges.