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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.

Students explore the effects of ice sheets on global sea level using NASA data. Using the resources provided, students collaborate and communicate their findings in a jig-saw activity format.

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. 

Helping students build their understanding of Earth's spheres and how they are connected is difficult.  Review the graphics below to help identify the parts of the Earth System and the processes that connect them at the local, regional, and global scales.

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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