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This learning activity uses data acquired by the TOPEX/Poseidon altimeter, a joint project of NASA and the French Space Agency, to investigate the relationship between the topography of a sea-floor feature and the topography of the overlying sea surface.

In some parts of the world sea levels are increasing, while decreasing in others, and even 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. 

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. 

What is sea-level rise and how does it affect us? This "Teachable Moment" looks at the science behind sea-level rise and offers lessons and tools for teaching students about this important climate topic. 

Two characteristics of climate change are resulting in sea level rise. First, the melting of ice sheets and glaciers on land are adding more water to the oceans.

Understanding Sea Level

Learn more about the different causes of sea level change and the scientific background of observations and projecting sea level.

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

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.