22 Aug '15, 10am

#ClimateFact: Global sea levels have risen by about 8 inches in the last 130 years

#ClimateFact: Global sea levels have risen by about 8 inches in the last 130 years

Global sea levels have been ticking steadily higher by about an eighth of an inch (3.2 millimeters) each year since scientists began measuring them two decades ago. That’s why Carmen Boening, a research scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, was so shocked in 2010 and 2011, when she saw a quarter-inch (five-millimeter) drop in sea level – a sudden reversal of the trend. “We knew that either the sea was cooling, or there was less water in the ocean,” Boening said. Like metal, water contracts when it cools. “So we used NASA’s GRACE mission, which basically weighs water to tell us how much is present in different parts of the world, both in the ocean and on land. We found there was actually less water in the ocean.” Water can’t just vanish. If it leaves the ocean, it has to show up somewhere else in the water cycle. Sure enough, Boening’s team ...

Full article: http://climate.nasa.gov/news/2201/

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