Research and Application News
Balancing the sea-level budget
26 March 2014
Water from melting glaciers and ice sheets, along with thermal expansion of ocean water due to rising temperatures, are causing global sea-level rise. Scientists are exploiting satellite data to understand better just how much each component contributes to this devastating consequence of climate change.
Latest estimates show that global sea level is rising by about 3 mm a year, and this is one of the major threats of global warming, especially for low-lying coastal areas.
Identifying the individual contributors to sea-level rise is one of the most complicated challenges in climate science. This involves tracking water as it moves in all its forms - solid, liquid or gas - around Earth.
While Earth-observing satellites continuously map global and regional sea-level change, they can also be used to quantify the amount of water coming from various sources.
Source: European Space Agency (ESA)
Image credit: Planetary Visions - Ice sheet contribution to sea-level rise