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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.
The ocean's surface is not level, and sea levels change in response to changes in chemistry and temperature. Sophisticated satellite measurements are required for scientists to document current sea level rise.
The Hydrosphere is the water component of our planet, and includes liquid water, ice and vapor.
This activity invites students to simulate and observe the different effects on sea level from melting sea-ice.
Credit: Modified from POLAR-PALOOZA (National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0632262) and the Office of Science, Department of Energy.
This activity invites students to model and observe the effect of melting ice sheets (from land) on sea level and the difference between the effect of melting sea-ice to that of melting land ice on sea level.
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.
This activity is one of a series in the collection, The Potential Consequences of Climate Variability and Change activities.
The Earth's system exemplifies stability and change. Change and rates of change can be observed and quantified over very short or long periods of time and at various spatial scales (e.g., from landscape level to global processes).