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For over 20 years, satellite altimeters have measured the sea surface height of our ever-changing oceans.  This series of images shows the complicated patterns of rising and falling ocean levels across the globe from 1993 to 2015.

An animation showing “sea level fingerprints,” or patterns of rising and falling sea levels across the globe in response to changes in Earth’s gravitational and rotational fields. Major changes in water mass can cause localized bumps and dips in gravity, sometimes with counterintuitive effects.

The advance-and-retreat cycle of snow cover drastically changes the whiteness and brightness of Earth. Using these two 2017 maps created using NASA satellite data, have students review the seasonal differences of snow and ice extent.

In some parts of the world sea levels are increasing, while decreasing in others, and remain relatively flat in a few places; for more than 20 years, NASA has been tracking the global surface topography of the ocean to understand the important role it plays in our daily lives. 

Learn more about the different causes of sea level change and the scientific background of observations and projecting sea level. Find out about the history of measuring sea level and how state-of-the-art physical climate models predict sea level change into the future.

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