By Steve Cole
Seas around the world have risen an average of nearly 3 inches since 1992, with some locations rising more than 9 inches due to natural variation, according to the latest satellite measurements from NASA and its partners. An intensive research effort now underway, aided by NASA observations and analysis, points to an unavoidable rise of several feet in the future.
Members of NASA’s new interdisciplinary Sea Level Change Team will discuss recent findings and new agency research efforts during a media teleconference today at 12:30 p.m. EDT. NASA will stream the teleconference live online.
The question scientists are grappling with is how quickly will seas rise?
“Given what we know now about how the ocean expands as it warms and how ice sheets and glaciers are adding water to the seas, it’s pretty certain we are locked into at least 3 feet of sea level rise, and probably more,” said Steve Nerem of the University of Colorado, Boulder, and lead of the Sea Level Change Team. “But we don’t know whether it will happen within a century or somewhat longer.”
Team scientists will discuss a new visualization based on 23 years of sea level data – the entire record of available satellite data — which reveals changes are anything but uniform around the globe. The record is based on data from three consecutive satellite missions, the first a collaboration between NASA and the French space agency, Centre National d’Études Spatiales, launched in 1992. The next in the series is Jason-3, led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) with participation by NASA, CNES and the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT).
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